Spain Govt Approves Plan to Legalize More Abortions, Parliament to Consider

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 14, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Spain Govt Approves Plan to Legalize More Abortions, Parliament to Consider

by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 14
, 2009

Madrid, Spain ( — The government of Spain has approved a plan to expand the law allowing legal abortions there despite strong opposition from the pro-life community. Now the nation’s parliament will weigh in on the debate to expand the nation’s already-lenient laws to essentially allow abortion on demand.

Abortion is already allowed in Spain but 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 even in the latter parts of pregnancy, Prime Minister Jose’ Luis Rodriguez Zapatero wants the statute removed.

There is some question about whether the measure will be approved in the Spanish Parliament because Zapatero does not have a majority and has had a falling out with some MPs over other issues.

Under the proposal, abortions would be legal without any limits or considerations within the first 14 weeks of pregnancy and up to 22 weeks in any cases where two physicians claim the pregnancy is a threat to the mother’s health or the baby has fetal abnormalities.

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

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

"Sensitivity towards animal protection seems good to us, but it is paradoxical not to protect the human being," Camino said.

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.

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.

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.

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