Spain to drop most controversial abortion measure
The ruling Socialist Party agrees to amend a reform that would have allowed 16-year-old girls to undergo abortions without their parents’ consent.Madrid – Spain's ruling Socialist Party agreed on Thursday to amend the most controversial of its abortion reforms, one that would have allowed girls of 16 to end a pregnancy without parental consent.
The measure had been condemned by both the conservative opposition Popular Party as well as some Socialist lawmakers.
At the demand of the centre-right Basque Nationalist Party (PNV), parliament's Equal Opportunities Committee on Thursday approved a new version of the law that does not include the measure, political sources said.
However, the new legislation would still allow girls of 16 and over to undergo abortions without their parents' consent if there is "certain danger of family violence, threats, pressure, abuse, family exclusion or distress."
The new version of the proposed law would also allow doctors to refuse to carry out the procedure if they register as "conscientious objectors" to abortion.
The PNV said it would vote in favour of the bill "as its demands have been incorporated".
Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero governs without an absolute majority and relies on the support of smaller parties such as the PNV in order to pass legislation.
Zapatero's cabinet approved the draft law at a cabinet meeting in September despite strong opposition from the Roman Catholic Church and the PP.
Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets of Madrid on 17 October to condemn the measures in a demonstration organised by the Spanish Family Forum, a coalition of Catholic groups.
Under the reforms, abortions would be allowed on demand up to the 14th week of pregnancy, and up to 22 weeks if there is a risk to the mother's health or if the foetus is deformed.
Women could also undergo the procedure after 22 weeks if the foetus has a serious or incurable illness.
The existing law, introduced in 1985, a decade after the death of right-wing dictator Francisco Franco, only allows abortion in cases of rape, foetal malformation and when a pregnant woman's mental or physical health is deemed to be at risk if the pregnancy goes to term.
AFP / Expatica