Spain Compromises on Abortion Reform Bill

Spain’s ruling Socialist Party agreed last week to remove a provision to their abortion reform bill that would have allowed girls between age 16 and 18 to obtain abortions without their parents’ knowledge. The revised version of the bill also includes a provision that allows doctors who register as “conscientious objectors” to refuse to perform the procedure. The center-right Basque Nationalist Party will now vote for the bill “as its demands have been incorporated,” according to Agence France Presse.

The new version of the bill allows for an exception to the parental notification provision if there is a “certain danger of family violence, threats, pressure, abuse, family exclusion, or distress.” Carmen Monton, the Spanish Socialist Party’s spokeswoman on women’s issues said, “the important thing is that the consent comes from women, regardless of age…The parents will be informed and there will be exceptions. I thinks it’s a good agreement,” according to the Associated Press.

Currently, abortion is legal in Spain only in cases of rape, severe fetal abnormalities, or when the mother’s mental or physical health is at risk. The proposed reforms would legalize abortion up to the 14th week of pregnancy. If a mother’s health is at risk or if the fetus has a serious or incurable illness, the procedure will be permitted up to 22 weeks.

The reform of abortion laws is part of the social change program undertaken by Spanish prime minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, whose Socialist government has removed religion from the public education curriculum, reformed divorce laws, and legalized gay marriage since assuming power in 2004.


Agence France Presse 12/11/09; Associated Press 12/10/09; Feminist Daily Newswire 2/23/09

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