Spain Reforms Abortion Laws
Spain’s Senate gave final approval last week to a bill that liberalizes the countries abortion laws. The new law allows abortion up to 14 weeks, which means that Spanish women will no longer risk imprisonment should they choose abortion. It also gives 16 and 17-year-olds the right to have an abortion without parental consent. The bill’s passage enraged the Catholic Church and many conservatives, reported the Associated Press.
Carmen Monton, the Spanish Socialist Party’s spokeswoman on women’s issues, told the Associated Press in December 2009, “The important thing is that the consent comes from women, regardless of age…The parents will be informed and there will be exceptions.”
The new law also permits abortion within 22 weeks of pregnancy, pending the recommendation of two physicians that the mother’s health is at risk, or if the fetus is malformed. Under previous abortion laws, women could only abort within 12 weeks in the case of rape, or in the first 22 weeks if the mother’s life was at risk. Those who violated these restrictions faced possible imprisonment.
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. By enacting changes to their abortion laws, Spain’s policies come in line with several neighboring European countries, including Germany, Britain and France.