Spain Court Won’t Suspend New Expanding Abortions, Catholic Bishop Responds

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 13, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Spain Court Won’t Suspend Law Expanding Abortions, Catholic Bishop Responds

by Steven Ertelt Editor
July 13
, 2010

Madrid, Spain ( — The highest court in Spain has decided it not will suspend the new abortion law that allows abortions for any reason to 14 weeks and denies parents the right to know when their minor daughter is considering one. Meanwhile, a Catholic bishop is urging Spaniards to protest the new law.

The measure allows any abortions up to 14 weeks and 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 Supreme Court in Spain is examining a lawsuit filed by the center-right Popular Party to prevent the law from taking effect, but the law is going into place now. But the court said today it would allow the law to stand while it considers the lawsuit against it.

Meanwhile, according to CNA, Archbishop Francisco Gil Hellin of Burgos says Catholics in the nation should engage in “direct opposition without distinction” against the new law.

“Let’s be clear: this law is not a law, although it is presented as such by some politicians and lawmakers. It is no law because nobody has the right to take the life of an innocent human being. For this reason it is not obligatory. Moreover, it demands direct opposition without distinction,” the Catholic Church leader said in a letter.

CNA reported Hellin added, it is a “fallacy to assert that this law was passed by a majority in Parliament and that it represents the will of the majority of citizens, or if the Constitutional Court upholds it, that opposing it would be disobedient and would warrant sanction.”

He reportedly said he wants all Catholics to do more to help women in pregnancy situations “with all the means at our disposal” in order to “halt this plague of abortion that, in Spain alone has already destroyed more people than all those who live in the cities of Zaragoza, Cordoba and Burgos.”

Sandra Moneo, a Popular Party member of parliament, says the law "violates the balance between the rights of the mother and the rights of the unborn," according to Canadian Press.

But Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said he is confident the law would be upheld as constitutional.

The Spanish daily newspaper El Pais indicates the Socialist government has sought go against the lawsuit by introducing a change to the law.

The change would have minors accompanied by a parent or legal guardian to the abortion center but also allows the abortion center to do the abortion if a psychologist or social worker believes the teen has reason to be concerned about telling her parents about the potential abortion. Pro-life advocates worry that will essentially allow abortions without parental involvement to continue.

In its lawsuit,the party is citing a 1985 ruling from the same court saying the so-called abortion right can’t take precedence over the right to life of unborn children, except in certain cases such as rape and incest.

Popular Party lawmaker Sandra Moneo said that establishing a time period of unlimited abortions "violates the balance between the rights of the mother and the rights of the unborn."

The party also argues that letting minor teenagers have abortions without parental consent violates the rights of parents.

Ignacio Arsuaga, president of (Make Yourself Heard), said even the current law is pro-abortion but this one goes further.

Arsuaga said during a rally of tens of thousands of people in opposition to the new law, "We sadly note that even under the current law, in 2008, abortion was the number-one cause of death in Spain, with more than 120,000 abortions taking place in the country that year — more than double the number in 1996 (51,000)."

"All of this, while Spain faces the social and economic challenges of having one of the lowest birthrates in the world (as low as the birthrate in Greece)," Arsuaga added.

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.


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