MADRID (ChurchMilitant.com) - Spain's leftist government is pushing for its long-desired goal of expanding access to abortion for underage girls.
Minister for equality Irene Montero appeared before Spain's Congress on Wednesday and said that it is "more than necessary" for legislators to repeal laws requiring parental consent for 16- and 17-year-old girls to obtain abortions.
Speaking to Congress, Montero said in reference to fellow abortion advocates, "We demand, like so many from all corners of the world, the right of all women to decide about their bodies, and we demand a freely decided motherhood and, above all, a full and free sexual life."
The current government, formed by the Socialist Workers' Party and leftist Unidas Podemos party, also wants to establish a right to the "newest forms" of contraception, while extending LGBTQ indoctrination and sex education in schools.
Since 1985, abortion has been legal in Spain. As of 2010, girls seeking an abortion were required to have parents present at the abortion, unless a conflict with their parents would arise. Currently, however, the law calls for parental consent for girls aged 16 and 17 to obtain an abortion.
Abortion law was reformed in 2015, when the centrist Popular Party (PP) was in power. Legislative efforts to eliminate abortion-on-demand during the first trimester of pregnancy and allow abortion on a case-by-case basis were unsuccessful. Feminists and abortion advocates rallied and garnered support from within PP to reduce the reform to a focus on parental consent. As passed, the law requires 16- and 17-year-olds to obtain parental permission to end their unborn children's lives.
Abortion on demand, paid for by the government, is available to women in Spain during the first 14 weeks of gestation and up to 22 weeks if serious health risks are posed to the mother or baby. However, in effect, abortion is legal throughout pregnancy when a serious health risk to the mother or fetal anomalies are detected.
By contrast, most states in the United States require parental consent for minors to obtain abortion services. In June, Florida state legislators adopted a measure requiring parental consent. In response, Florida's Catholic bishops released a statement saying that "this common-sense measure simply holds abortion to the same consent requirements as most every other medical decision involving a child, including simple interventions such as taking an aspirin or getting ears pierced."
"As Catholics, we condemn abortion as a grave injustice that denies the fundamental human right to life. However, as long as abortion is legal, we support measures such as parental consent that will reduce the grave harm it inflicts," they wrote.
The current Spanish government was formed in 2018 by a coalition of socialists and members of Unidas Podemos. To come together, the parties signed a deal to abolish, inter alia, parental consent requirements for abortion. In order to pass the new abortion law, Equality Minister Montero will have to submit her proposal to the public and then to socialist health minister Salvador Illa. To pass, the measure will need approval by an absolute majority of Spain's Congress of Deputies — 177 votes or more of the 350 votes in the chamber.
The Vox party, the third-largest in Congress, is avowedly against any further liberalization of abortion. Vox deputy Lourdes Méndez Monasterio said on Oct. 7 in chamber that the ruling government has had "mistaken goals" during the coronavirus crisis. She said that the proposed abortion law would "promote a female supremacist agenda."
Méndez Monasterio has been outspoken in the past — not only about abortion but also about euthanasia for the elderly, which she has likened to Nazism. Members of the Vox party have been four-square against laws proposed by leftists that ostensibly protect women from gender violence, which they believe would create a privileged class of persons above the law.
Catholics in Spain are in the midst of the annual 40 Days for Life, wherein many appear outside of abortion centers to counsel women and pray.
The Spanish Federation of Pro-Life Associations issued a statement on Thursday condemning the government's proposal. Declaring that current abortion laws must be repealed, the pro-life group called on legislators "to enact [a legal framework] that respects the right to life of every human being ... from the moment of conception."
Saying that the government project is based on "outdated arguments, euphemisms and closing the eyes to the proven reality," the group declared: "Abortion kills an innocent human being in the womb of its mother in the cruelest way."
"Abortion causes acute psychological trauma and physical damage to the mother that is difficult to repair, sometimes even death, even in the most subsidized and better-equipped centers," it added. "Abortion does not solve problems but creates them and even worsens them."