February 17, 2012 ( – The president of the Asturias Medical College, the official physician’s association for the region of Asturias in the north of Spain, says that abortion converts doctors into “executioners,” a role that cannot be imposed on them.

“The society dictates laws, but doctors don’t have to be executioners,” Carmen Rodriguez, president of the college, told the Voice of the Asturias newspaper. “They can’t make the doctor play that game.”

She also called on doctors “to declare themselves objectors” in conscience to performing abortions, the publication reports.


Rodriguez said that a reform of the existing abortion law, which permits the killing of the unborn on demand for the first 14 weeks of pregnancy, is particularly necessary regarding minors, referring to the law’s provision allowing girls as young as 16 to have an abortion without their parents’ permission.

“It cannot be that the parents should be responsible for their children and not be in the case of the abortion of their daughter,” said Rodriguez.

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The position of the Asturias Medical College is reflective of the general thinking of physicians’ associations in Spain.  The General Council of Official Medical Associations issued a statement in 2010 denouncing the current abortion law, and stating, “The medical profession has pronounced clearly on this controversial topic, indicating in the first place that one cannot speak of the ‘right to abortion,’ since the right to life is fundamental and cannot be renounced, and [abortion] even continues to be considered a crime except in the terms fixed by the law.”

Despite the decriminalization of abortion in Spain, the Asturias Medical College code of ethics continues to state, “the physician will never intentionally provoke the death of any patient, not even if requested explicitly by the same.”

With the recent election of a new, more conservative prime minister and governing party in Spain, there is a new hope that the current abortion law will be repealed in favor of a law that would allow abortion in a much more narrow range of circumstances. If such a law is enforced rigorously, the number of abortions in Spain could be reduced dramatically.