Spanish Conservative government moves to restrict abortion: pro-aborts, feminists furious
Madrid, December 23, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Spanish government has taken the first steps to follow through on campaign promises to reform the country’s notoriously liberal abortion law, which was passed by the country’s previous Socialist government.
On Friday, the government introduced a draft law that restricts the conditions under which women can abort their babies, and introduces a 7-day “cooling off” period, among other provisions.
The current law, passed in 2010 by the Spanish Socialist Worker’s Party, permits abortion on demand until 14 weeks gestation and allows eugenic abortions up to 22 weeks when the baby has a malformation. It also allows for 16- and 17-year-olds to abort without their parents’ consent.
The reform law would allow abortions up to the 22nd week, but only when the physical or mental health of the mother are at risk, which must be certified by two physicians independent of the abortionist.
Women will then be informed of the medical risks of the procedure and of the maternity social services the state provides, and must wait the required seven days before undergoing the procedure.
The new law will also allow abortions up to 12 weeks in cases of rape, if the sexual crime was previously reported, but will require girls 17 and younger to have their parents’ consent before aborting their babies.
Under the current law, “simply because it hasn’t reached a certain number of weeks, the conceived person loses every kind of protection,” said Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón, the main promoter of the reform law, to the press.
The present state of the law “makes the Constitution vulnerable” as it “completely leaves the conceived person unprotected,” he said.
Malformation of the baby will not be considered a reason have access to an abortion under the proposed law.
“There are no first-class or second-class embryos,” said Gallaradón. “Just like in our legislation there are no first-class or second-class people.”
The proposed law is named the “Law for the Protection of the Life of the Conceived Person and the Rights of the Pregnant Woman.”
Feminists and pro-abortion activists are furious at the government’s plan.
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“The worst predictions have come true. The name of the new law… is already a barbarity,” said Francisca Garcia, president of the Association of Accredited Clinics for the Interruption of Pregnancy.
When the reform was made public last Friday, pro-abortion groups protested in front of the Ministry of Justice in Madrid. Most protesters were women, some of them topless.
Local media report that three people were arrested for attacking the police.
Spanish media report they expect Congress to pass the law before the end of the year, as the governing party Partido Popular holds the majority.
Even if the new law passes, however, there will be the question of enforcing its provisions. The Socialist government had passed its more liberal law after revelations that abortionists in Spain were routinely flouting the previous restrictions.
While the now-ruling People’s Party had demanded at the time that the Socialists enforce the provisions of the previous law, the Socialists responded by simply lifting any restrictions during the early stages of pregnancy.
Under the new law doctors who perform illegal abortions may face up to 8 years of jail.
Women will not be criminalized. Gallardón said that women are always the “victims” of abortion and “will never be held guilty.”
Pro-life leaders welcomed the proposed law as a step in the right direction. Gádor Joya from the pro-life organization Right to Life, said to the press: “We celebrate that they finally decided to end with abortion as a right, which is without a doubt a step forward in reaching the objective of zero abortions.”
Spain has one of the lowest birth rates in the world. According to the National Statistics Institute, by 2017 deaths will outnumber births with an estimated 404,054 deaths for every 397,714 births.
A study performed by the Family Politics Institute in 2010 showed that one in every five pregnancies in Spain ended in an abortion.