Threats to Abortion Rights in Spain

pro-choice rally in Barcelona

The Los Angeles Times reports on a crackdown on the right to an abortion in Spain and Italy, two of Europe’s most Roman Catholic countries. In Italy, abortion is a major issue for candidates in an upcoming election although it has been legal for thirty years (on-demand up to 12 weeks, up 24 weeks for health of the woman or fetus abnormalities).

The situation in Spain is quite scary for women:

Police have swept into clinics, hauled away cartons of medical records and questioned dozens of women who had terminated their pregnancies, sometimes showing up at their homes, to their great mortification.

This all comes four years after the socialist Spanish government promised to expand access to abortion. However, in March’s election, the party had dropped abortion from its platform due to pressure form Catholic bishops.

At the center of the debate in Spain is women’s access to abortion up to 22 weeks “if the fetus is malformed and at any time if a doctor certifies grave risk to the woman’s physical or psychological health.” Police have questioned women who had abortions after 22 weeks to determine if they actually saw a psychiatrist or doctor to assess potential risk.

A spokeswoman for a Madrid clinic targeted by police and inspectors cited Health Ministry statistics that showed that 90% of abortions are conducted in the first 12 weeks; less than 2% occur after 21 weeks.

Unfortunately, women who need an abortion in Madrid and Barcelona — where local governments have been particularly aggressive in cracking down on abortions — cannot be guaranteed access to confidential abortions as politicians play football with their rights.

Via / LA Times

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