International News

Spain’s Bishops Back Abortion Restrictions

MADRID (CNS) – A Spanish bishop urged medical personnel to stop performing all abortions, even though the Church has backed new legislation that would still allow abortion in cases of rape.

“Those who assist with abortions are seen as automatically excommunicated because the Church wants to defend the weak,” said Madrid Auxiliary Bishop Juan Martinez Camino.

“A woman who has been raped should not abort, since one injustice doesn’t justify another. Eliminating the child, an innocent human being, is not a good solution,” he told Spain’s La Vanguardia daily, a day after an opposition Socialist Workers Party challenge to the legislation was defeated.

The opposition vowed to block the bill, which will restrict abortion rights to cases of rape and severe risk to a woman’s physical or mental health.

“If this goes ahead, the number of abortions in Spain will still rise, and many will be more dangerous for women,” Elena Valenciano, a party leader, told parliament. “Inequality will grow and Spanish women will again be divided into two groups: those who can travel to a neighboring country for a safe abortion, and those who can’t.”

In 2010, abortion-on-demand up to 14 weeks was legalized. Abortions also are allowed up to 22 weeks in cases of health risks or fetal deformities.

 

Opposed by Most Citizens

The new legislation was introduced in December, but opinion polls suggest the bill is opposed by most of Spain’s 47 million citizens, approximately 80 percent of whom are traditionally Catholics, although only one in five attends Mass, according to 2011 data.

In a Jan. 30 statement, the bishops’ conference welcomed the bill as a “positive improvement on existing legislation, which views abortion as a right” and thanked “the dedication of many people, both ecclesial and civil,” who had “worked tirelessly” to help pregnant women.

 

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