Spain Residents Oppose Government’s Plans to Expand Abortions Poll Shows

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 1, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Spain Residents Oppose Government’s Plans to Expand Abortions Poll Shows

by Steven Ertelt Editor
June 1
, 2009

Madrid, Spain ( — A new poll of residents of Spain finds a majority strongly disapprove of a plan by the Spanish government to expand abortions there. The nation’s parliament is currently debating the move to expand the nation’s already-lenient laws to essentially allow abortion on demand.

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 move would allow girls as young as 16 to get nearly unfettered abortions.

However, a Metroscopia survey published in the newspaper El Pais showed limpid opposition to the idea as Spaniards oppose the abortion measure, including those who are members of the ruling Socialist Party.

According to an AP report, the survey found 6 percent of Socialist backers polled are against the proposal and 64 percent of all Spanish citizens oppose expanding abortions.

The Metroscopia polling firm conducted the survey May 27-28 among 1,000 people and it has a low 2.2 percent margin of error.

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.

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.

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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