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Cardinal condemns Spain abortion law reforms

Bess Twiston Davies - The Tablet - Fri, Mar 10th 2023

The Spanish government last week announced a significant relaxation of the 2010 abortion laws.

Cardinal condemns Spain abortion law reforms

Cardinal Juan José Omella has condemned the Spanish government's reform of the country's increasingly-politicised abortion laws.
Daniel Ibanez/CNA

A cardinal has criticised Spain’s recent reform of the country’s abortion law as “illogical”.

Cardinal Juan José Omella, the president of the Spanish bishops’ conference, wrote on Twitter: “No one bats an eyelid if a baby that has been in the womb fewer than nine months is martyred.”

He added: “But if a baby is born prematurely at five months old, there is an insistence its life saved. Yet breaking an eagle’s egg is forbidden!”  

Omella made the statement after the Spanish government announced last week a significant relaxation of the 2010 abortion laws. These abolish the current three-day “reflection” period obligatory for women contemplating an abortion. 

The Spanish bishops have signed an inter-religious statement protesting the reforms.

The law seeks to enable women to access abortion on the public health system, thus reversing a trend for abortions to be mainly accessed via private clinics.

This is because many doctors in Spain’s public health system object to performing abortion. Their names and those of any professional health care worker who objects to abortion are now to be placed by law on a register.

Abortion providers will no longer be legally obliged to give women asking for an abortion information about the procedure or tell them anything about alternatives to abortion.

In January, the north-western region of Castila y León, which is run by a coalition of the right-wing Partido Popular and the far-right Vox party, announced plans to offer pregnant woman seeking abortion the chance to hear their baby’s heartbeat. They could also choose to have a 4D ultrasound and receive counselling.

Regional bishops implicitly endorsed the measure in January when they said: “Offering a period of reflection and providing them with information about alternatives to abortion enables pregnant women to have the all the information they need to think through their decisions.”

A spokesman for the Spanish bishops’ conference recently called for the subject of abortion to “de-politicised”.

Bishop César García Magán highlighted the urgent need to also defend “human life [in the form of] someone stepping into an immigrant  dinghy. This needs to be protected too and so do women at risk from domestic violence.”

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