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Spain: abortion law is to be reformed

16 and 17-year-olds could terminate their pregnancy without parental consent

by: Marta Rodriguez

Last Wednesday, Irene Montero, the Spanish minister of equality, announced that she had intentions of amending the abortion law in Spain so that 16 and 17-year-olds will not need parental permission any longer.

Photo curtesy of Efraimstochter via pixabay

The first abortion law in Spain was passed in 1985 and allowed abortion in only three cases: rape (which needed a police statement), risk to the mother’s health or foetus malformation (both of which needed a medical statement).

In 2010 a new abortion law was passed which established freedom of abortion for women. This law permitted women to abort up until 14 weeks of pregnancy or 22 if there is a malformation of the foetus or if the pregnancy presents risks. Minors of 16 and 17 years old just needed to inform their parent or guardian of their intention to abort.

In 2015 however, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, leader of the Peoples Party (the right-wing, conservative party of Spain) made an amendment to the law. Although he had intentions of limiting the law further, he was only able to make 16 and 17-year-olds have parental consent for an abortion.

Studies say that this change left more than 400 women unprotected every year ‒ 1 out of 10 women who have an abortion are 16 or 17 years old.

Photo curtesy of Victorf via pixabay

To compare, in Scotland a woman is free to choose to abort up until 24 weeks of pregnancy. Patient confidentiality is always kept and any woman under 16 years of age will only be encouraged to tell a parent or guardian but is under no obligation of doing so.

The change that Irene Montero has announced will permit 16 and 17-year-olds to abort freely, without the need of parental consent. This is together with her intent to improve ‘sexual health, guaranteeing the best possible access to contraception, to its newest and more effective forms as well as an effective sexual education that will serve as the best tool for the equality between women and men as well as a vaccine against misogynist violence.’

This has come together with a series of feminist measures that advocate for equality such as the intent to emulate some European countries (Germany for instance) when it comes to wage equality.

Ms. Montero’s announcement has been condemned by Vox, the extremist right wing party of Spain, who pursues a more conservative approach to abortion. In their elections statement they declared that abortions would not be funded by public health and that they would strive to defend life from conception until death.

To be passed this reform will need an absolute majority in parliament which amounts to 176 votes.


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