Spanish opposition to challenge liberal abortion law

16th May 2009, Comments 0 comments

Spain's right-wing opposition said Friday it would challenge government moves to liberalise the abortion law in the Constitutional Court

MADRID - Spain's right-wing opposition said Friday it would challenge government moves to liberalise the abortion law in the Constitutional Court.

The measure announced Thursday has angered the Roman Catholic Church and led to mass demonstrations by opponents.

"I will take this law to the Constitutional Court," opposition Popular Party leader Mariano Rajoy said in a speech at Cordoba in Andalusia. "It is a bad law in its substance, its form and its purpose."

Rajoy claimed the Socialist government was seeking to distract attention from problems that really concerned Spaniards, notably the global economic crisis and the rise in unemployment.

Equality Minister Bibiana Aido said Thursday the law will provide "more legal guarantees for women, more security for health professionals and help prevent unwanted pregnancies."

It will also "bring us closer to the rest of Europe," he added.

Under the measure, abortions would be allowed for women of 16 years and over 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, Aido told a press conference.

Woman can also undergo the procedure after 22 weeks if the foetus has a serious or incurable illness.

The bill would reform a 1985 abortion law, which decriminalised abortion but only for certain cases: up to 12 weeks of pregnancy after a rape; up to 22 weeks in the case of malformation of the foetus; and at any point if the pregnancy represented a threat to the physical or mental health of the mother.

But the Catholic Church, which has previously clashed with the government over the legalisation of gay marriage and a fast-track divorce law, has condemned the measure.

Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets of Madrid in March to demand its withdrawal.

After the government's preliminary approval, the bill must still be examined by the judiciary before it goes back to the cabinet and is finally passed by parliament.

AFP/ Expatica

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