The minister of equality of Spain, Irene Montero, in the Congress of Deputies. / Credit: Parliamentary Channel
ACI Prensa Staff, Feb 17, 2023 / 15:45 pm (CNA).
Spain’s Congress of Deputies on Thursday passed a new abortion law following its approval with amendments in the Senate. The law’s provisions are even more harmful than those of the law passed in 2010 that was recently upheld by the Constitutional Court.
The ruling was suspected of partiality because at least four out of 11 of the justices likely should have recused themselves, which would have left the court without the quorum to decide the case.
The new law aims to reverse the ongoing trend whereby abortion is performed in private clinics due to widespread conscientious objection by health care professionals in the state health system.
To try to counter this, the new law imposes an obligatory public registry of conscientious objectors.
The law also obliges pharmacists to dispense the morning-after pill, which limits the right of druggists to object.
Information and reflection
On the other hand, the obligation to provide complete information on the procedure, the risks involved, and the help and alternatives available for the woman who chooses not to abort is eliminated.
Similarly, the three-day waiting period for reflection that was previously in force was done away with.
On this issue, it is worth noting that the People’s Party supported an amendment in the Senate to block the proposal for greater information to be provided to the woman seeking an abortion, which the VOX political party backed in the Castilla y León autonomous regional government, a move that sparked a major controversy in recent weeks.
In January, Castilla y León announced that it will offer pregnant women who want to abort the opportunity to listen to their baby’s heartbeat, have a 4D ultrasound, and receive psychological care.
The VOX proposal also included a subsequent period of temporary disability following abortion.
The national government responded by issuing a statement saying it would use all means provided by the legal system to protect women’s freedom to abort as established by current law.
The new law passed by Spain’s Congress establishes, as did the 2010 law, that 16- and 17-year-old minors can abort without their parents’ knowledge. The People’s Party had promised to repeal the 2010 law but when it had an absolute majority in Congress the only action it took was to amend the law to allow this parental bypass.
The new law also says that women with disabilities will not need the consent of their legal guardians.
The recently approved law also determines that having had an abortion is to be removed from the woman’s clinical history after five years.
Contraception, sex education, and surrogacy
Under the law, the distribution of barrier contraceptive methods will be increased in institutes, prisons, and social services centers.
At the same time, according to the national government, the law provides for the promotion of research on male contraception for the sake of “the co-responsibility of men.”
In addition, the morning-after pill will be available free of charge in outpatient clinics and in the new “public centers for specialized care in sexual and reproductive rights.”
Another of the law’s provisions is obligatory sex education based on gender ideology in all educational levels, promoting the use of contraceptives, sexual promiscuity, and same-sex relationships between people beginning in early childhood.
The law classifies as “forms of reproductive violence” forced pregnancy, abortion, sterilization, and contraception as well as surrogate motherhood.
‘The end of abortion is in our prayers’
ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner, asked Spanish pro-life organizations for their assessment of the new abortion law.
The Spanish branch of 40 Days for Life considers the new law to be “a death sentence for Spain” and that “the institutions that look after the good of citizens have failed us.”
The organization charged that “those who have taken a pro-life position have looked the other way for more than 13 years.” In a veiled reference to the People’s Party, 40 Days for Life pointed out that now “they applaud the law that takes away the right to life of so many innocents.”
The pro-life prayer movement criticized the decrease in information available to women at risk of abortion and pointed out that “to choose freely is to have all the available information accessible to each woman who is considering an abortion.”
The organization pointed out that abortion is a procedure “in which the life of the mother is also in danger” and that “continuing with a pregnancy despite the difficulties is possible.”
On Feb. 22, coinciding with Ash Wednesday, 40 Days for Life begins its spring campaign in 21 cities in Spain.
Nicolás Jouve de la Barreda, the president of the Association of Researchers and Professionals for Life and former member of the Spanish Bioethics Committee, said the passage of the law amounts to “a real work of ‘social engineering’ that has been going on for years to create a state of opinion in favor of something as inhuman as abortion.”
Both this law and the euthanasia law “are deceptive laws, because they hide the truth, are based on falsehoods, and attack principles traditionally maintained by society,” Jouve said.
“For a law to be just,” he noted, “it must be not only necessary — which does not explain the accelerated legislative fever in favor of abortion or euthanasia — but that it also be based on real scientific data and on values and principles of morality that legitimize it.”
Jouve also pointed out that the abortion laws in Spain “go against the Spanish Constitution, whatever the Constitutional Court with its new members may say by stating that the unborn doesn’t have the right to life, even when the unborn child is a constitutionally protected good by Article 15” of the country’s Magna Carta.
“Considering abortion as a woman’s right constitutes a perversion. Denying the right to life of some to affirm the right of others to extinguish it is a grave attack on human dignity,” he concluded.
This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.