Spain’s Catholic Church Launches New Campaign to Oppose Abortion Expansion

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 17, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Spain’s Catholic Church Launches New Campaign to Oppose Abortion Expansion

by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 17
, 2009

Madrid, Spain ( — The Catholic Church in Spain has launched a new campaign to stop the expansion of the abortion law. The government of Spain has taken the first step to expand the nation’s already-lenient laws to essentially allow abortion on demand.

Abortion is already legal in Spain and the law requires a valid mental health reason for a woman to be allowed to have an abortion.

Under Spanish law abortion is technically illegal and abortion is only allowed in case the pregnancy supposedly is a threat to the physical or mental health of the woman (despite the fact abortions typically cause medical and mental health issues).

Though the law has been flouted by abortion centers and abortions have been routinely done throughout pregnancy, Prime Minister Jose’ Luis Rodriguez Zapatero wants the statute removed.

The Catholic Church has launched a massive campaign against the plan and the Bishops’ Conference said Monday that unborn children already have their rights protected less than law pertaining to flowers and trees.

The campaign will see 30,000 posters and 1,300 billboards across 37 Spanish cities, together with 8 million leaflets.

Bishops’ Conference spokesman Juan Antonio Martinez Camino said the church wanted Spaniards to "think about the need to protect life."

The church is planning a campaign featuring posters and leaflets showing a child and a lynx, an endangered species. "And me? Protect my life!" the child says.

"Sensitivity towards animal protection seems good to us, but it is paradoxical not to protect the human being," Camino said, according to a DPA news outlet report.

About 1,000 scientists and other professionals meanwhile issued a declaration opposing the expansion of abortion. Bioethics expert Monica Lopez Barahona said a human embryo is a human being at the point of conception.

Socialist representative Jose Blanco charged that the "hypocritical" church is defending "stale" points of view. The opposition conservative People’s Party opposes the Socialist effort to expand abortion.

As a result of the lax laws, abortions are on the rise as there were 53,847 abortions done in Spain in 1998 but 112,138 last year, according to the Spanish health ministry. The figures also show that abortions increased more than 10 percent from 2006 to 2007.

Backers of the new law say it would make it so women don’t have to worry about being prosecuted if they run afoul of the current requirements.

"What we are talking about is for women not to face persecution when they decide [to have an abortion]," lawmaker Carmen Monton, a Socialist spokesperson told AP.

"Abortion is bad. It is bad for women and it is bad for society," Sandra Moneo, the parliamentary spokeswoman for the opposition Popular Party, told GMA News in response. "A woman cannot have a right to something that is bad for her."

Pro-life advocates say the laws are already too pro-abortion and they point to evidence showing abortion centers routinely filled out patient intake forms ahead of time without evaluating women beforehand.

As proof that abortion is already essentially legal on demand, the Institute for Family Policy released a report in 2007 showing an increase in the number of abortions of 90.5 percent. That puts Spain third, behind Belgium and Holland, with the greatest increase in the abortion rate during that time.

“If this trend continues, in 2010 one out of every five pregnancies (125,000 annually) will end in abortion,” IFP president Eduardo Hertfelder said in the report.

Some “266 children are not born each day in Spain because of abortion, resulting in one abortion taking place every 5.4 minutes.”

“The Ministry of Health must drastically re-orient its health and sexuality policies once their ineffectiveness has been made clear in order to stop or lessen this significant increase of abortions, which results in 266 deaths by abortion each day in Spain, making it the leading cause of mortality in Spain,” Hertfelder added.

In October the pro-abortion group Women on Waves sent its abortion boat to Spain, though it normally targets countries with pro-life laws.

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