Spain's opposition challenges abortion law in court

1st June 2010, Comments 0 comments

Spain's conservative opposition Tuesday called on the country's highest court to reject the government's new abortion reforms, charging they violate the constitution.

The Popular Party told the Constitutional Court the new law, which allows all women to end their pregnancies up until 14 weeks, violates article 15 of the the constitution which recognises that "everyone has the right to life."

"The new law establishes a system in which the life of anyone who is not born is not absolutely protected in the 14 weeks of pregnancy," the PP said.

The party called on the constitutional court to suspend the law while it considers the appeal.

The legislation, also strongly opposed by the Roman Catholic Church, was approved by parliament on February 24.

It allows abortion 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 has serious problems.

It is line with most of the country's European Union partners.

The previous law introduced in 1985 only allowed 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.

Last year around 115,000 abortions were carried out in Spain, the vast majority on the grounds that the woman's mental health was at risk, according to the health ministry.

Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets of Madrid in October to condemn the government's liberalisation of the abortion laws in the overwhelmingly Catholic country.

The initial draft of the new law allowed girls as young as 16 to terminate pregnancies without their parents' knowledge.

But the bill was watered down, and the amended text approved by parliament obliges minors aged 16 or 17 to inform their families of a decision to abort, except if they face "a clear risk of family violence, threats, pressure or mistreatment."

© 2010 AFP

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