International

Spain takes steps to expand abortion, including without parental consent for minors

Spain, sterilization

The Spanish government has advanced proposals that would allow girls as young as 16 to get abortions without the need for parental consent. As proposed, the legislation would also eliminate the three-day waiting period required of women who want an abortion, would ensure that all state-run facilities offer abortion, and it would put contraceptives and the morning-after pill in schools across the country.

According to Spanish News Today, while voluntary abortion is legal in the country up to 14 weeks, the country’s Ministry of Equality has been fighting to expand the abortion law since 2010.

“There are still obstacles that hinder the effective and full exercise of all the sexual and reproductive rights recognized in the 2010 regulation itself,” Equality Minister Irene Montero said to the country’s Congress.

Montero also noted that the government had to “discard taboos, stigmas, and guilt regarding women’s bodies.”

READ: Spain criminalizes pro-life outreach at abortion facilities

“It is this government’s duty and its intention to safeguard the right to abortion in the public health system and do away with the obstacles that prevent women from deciding when it comes to their bodies and their lives,” she said in February.

While conscientious objection to abortion is allowed in the country, the legislation would implement a registry of all those health professionals who refuse to offer abortion. Montero said that this is in order to ensure that all state-run facilities offer abortion. Spanish News Today reports that there are 12 provinces in the country that haven’t committed an abortion in the last five years; this new provision would ensure that no woman has to travel outside her province for an abortion.

“Voluntarily interrupting pregnancy will be guaranteed in all public hospitals. For this, it is essential that all centers with gynecology and obstetrics services have professionals who guarantee the voluntary interruption of pregnancy,” Montero said.

Finally, birth control and contraception will be publically funded and available at schools as part of a sex education campaign that will be “extended” to reach younger children.

According to the Associated Press, the bill now heads to the Spanish parliament for debate.

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