By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

MADRID, February 24, 2009 ( – The heads of the Spanish Episcopal Conference (CEE) and the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care are denouncing plans by the socialist government of Spain to legalize abortion on demand during the first twelve weeks of pregnancy.

Juan Antonio Martinez Camino, the Secretary of the Spanish Episcopal Conference (CEE), remarked on Friday that  “more then one million Spaniards whose lives have been ended in recent years are human beings who can’t defend themselves nor form associations, and who do not vote, so their rights are not taken into account.”

Although Martinez Camino declined to comment specifically on the new bill, which is still working its way through parliamentary committees and has not been finalized, he called into question the legality of any legislation that removes protections from human life.

“The less the law protects life, the more unjust it is and the less it has the character of law,” he told the Spanish media, and called abortion a “detestable crime.”

Cardinal Javier Lozano, President of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care, said yesterday that plans to loosen Spain’s abortion law “attack society itself” and run “counter to the common good”.

“Government has the obligation to preserve life,” he said, noting that governments have in recent years become “victims of ideological thinking and of a misunderstood vision of freedom” which becomes “mere libertinism”.

The final legislation is expected to allow abortion-on-demand during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, and may allow girls as young as 16 years old to choose the procedure without parental consent, and girls as young as 12 to have input into the decision.

Current Spanish law requires a specific reason for an abortion, including a diagnosis of danger to a woman’s “psychological health”, and prohibits purely elective abortions.  During the last year, Spain has been rocked by scandals in which clinics were caught paying psychologists to diagnose their customers with a psychological health risk, justifying abortions as late as 26 weeks or more.

Spain’s more conservative People’s Party wishes to simply enforce the existing law, which would prohibit a large percentage of abortions each year.  The vast majority of such abortions are believed to be justified on psychological grounds. 

However, the Socialist Worker’s Party, which is predominant in the Spanish Parliament, is seeking instead to replace the law with a “law of periods” which will allow abortion on demand during the earliest weeks of pregnancy. 

Contact Information:

Embassy of Spain in the United States
2375 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington DC 20037
Telephone: (202) 452-0100
Fax: (202) 833-5670
E-mail: [email protected]

Embassy of Spain in Canada
74 Stanley Avenue, Toronto, Ottawa, K1M 1P4, Canada
Phone: +1-613-7472252, +1-613-7477293, +1-613-7471143, +1-613-7476181
Fax: +1-613-7441224
Email: [email protected]
Website URL:

Embassy of Spain in the United Kingdom
39 Chesham Place, SW1X 8SB, London, United Kingdom
Phone: +44-20-72355555
Fax: +44-20-72595392
Email: [email protected]

For a list of Spanish embassies around the world see