Spain opts for cautious approach to abortion law
The Spanish government is treading cautiously in reforming abortion law that would allow women to terminate their pregnancies in the first trimester freely.6 August 2008
MADRID - Apparently fearing a backlash from Catholics and conservatives, the government is treading unusually cautiously as it moves toward a reform of Spain's abortion law that would allow women to terminate their pregnancies at will within the first trimester.
Instead of following the more common route of drafting legislation and presenting it to Congress, the Socialist administration has unveiled plans to set up a cross-party congressional commission to hear arguments from lawmakers, doctors and experts about how Spain's 23-year-old abortion regulations should be changed to reflect the needs and attitudes of modern society.
The government's aim appears to be to try to bring conservative lawmakers in on the initiative early in order to avoid opposition further down the road.
The government wants to make is possible for women to undergo an abortion for any reason within the first trimester, doing away with widely abused rules that make abortion legal only in cases of rape, malformation of the foetus or if there is a risk of physical or psychological harm to the mother.
It also wants to prevent all late-term abortions - beyond six months - except in cases where the mother's life is at risk.
More than 100,000 abortions are performed in Spain each year with the risk of psychological problems for the mother being cited as the reason in the vast majority of cases.
[El Pais / Anabel Diez / Expatica]