Spain’s Parliament Passes Law Expanding Abortion, No Parental Consent for Teens

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 25, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Spain’s Parliament Passes Law Expanding Abortion, No Parental Consent for Teens

by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 25
, 2010

Madrid, Spain ( — The Spain Parliament on Wednesday approved the final version of a new law that expands abortions and provides no parental consent for teenagers wanting abortions. Strong opposition from pro-life advocates and the Catholic Church couldn’t stop the bill, which receive a 132-126 vote in the Spain Senate.

Under the bill, abortions are allowed for any reason to 14 weeks, they are allowed up to 22 weeks if an abortion practitioner certifies a serious threat to the health of the mother, or says the unborn child is disabled.

Beyond 22 weeks, abortions are only allowed in serious cases of fetal disability and in cases where the pregnancy threatens the mother’s life.

The new bill received automatic approval when a majority of senators rejected three proposals by conservative parties to veto it, and then rejected 88 amendments to water it down.

Abortion was officially allowed in 1985 but only for cases of rape or when a woman’s life or health is in danger.

Spanish abortion centers had been misusing the health exception to essentially allow any abortions, including late-term abortions, but the new law makes it so they no longer have to worry about running afoul of the law.

Socialist Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, who took office in 2004, had been pushing for the abortion expansion.

Reaction from pro-life advocates against the vote was strong, especially after they submitted one million signatures against the measure last week. As many as two million people participated in a massive march in Madrid in October to oppose the legislation.

Sen. Carmen Dueñas, speaking for the main opposition conservative Popular Party, accused the Socialists of “imposing free abortion on Spanish society.”

"The government wants to do away with one of the pillars of Spanish society, which is the family," she said.

Health Ministry figures show that in 2009, 115,812 women had abortions — including 10,221 who were teenagers between the ages of 16 and 18. Those numbers were a 3.27 percent increase on the number of abortions in 2008.

In November, the proposal was approved in its first stage as ruling party Socialist Party was joined by five smaller parties to back the abortion expansion on a narrow majority of 180 to 163. And in December the vote in the 350-seat Congress of Deputies was 184-158 with one abstention.

Former Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar participated in the march. Actor Eduardo Verástegui, who starred in the movie “Bella” joined in the march as well.

Legal abortions in Spain have increased over the years, doubling from nearly 54,000 in 1998 to 112,000 in 2007.

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