Spanish conservatives have taken their objections to loosening abortion restrictions in the country up with the highest court in the land, claiming that it “violates the balance between the rights of the mother and the rights of the unborn,” according to the Canadian Press.
Under Spain’s current abortion law, which dates back to 1985, Spanish women could in theory go to jail for getting an abortion outside certain strict limits — up to week 12 in case of rape and week 22 if the fetus is malformed.
But abortion is in effect widely available because women can assert mental distress as sole grounds for having an abortion, regardless of how late the pregnancy is. Most of the more than 100,000 abortions carried out each year in Spain were early-term ones that fell under this category.
The new law wipes away the threat of imprisonment and declares abortion to be a woman’s right.
In challenging the 14-week clause as unconstitutional, the Popular Party cited a 1985 ruling from the constitutional Court that said a woman’s rights could not systematically take precedence over those of an unborn child, but rather only in cases of rape, fetal malformation or when the mother’s health is in jeopardy.
To establish a period for unrestricted abortion “violates the balance between the rights of the mother and the rights of the unborn,” Popular Party lawmaker Sandra Moneo said.
The law would also girls who are 16 or 17 years of age to have an abortion without parental permission, although it would still require parental notification, allegedly interfering with “parents’ right to have a say in the upbringing of their daughters.”