Socialist Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero faces stiff opposition to proposals to allow girls as young as 16 years of age to have an abortion without parental consent.
Tuesday, June 02, 2009
According to polls released on June 1 in Spain, approximately 70 percent of Spaniards oppose plans to allow girls as young as 16 to terminate a pregnancy without parental consent.
Socialist Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero faces stiff opposition to a bill to reform current abortion even among people who support his party. This is according to a Metroscopia survey published in the Spanish daily El Pais showed. The surveyd showed that 56 percent of Socialist-oriented voters are against the proposal.
With 64 percent of people opposing the government's plans to let minors get abortions without parental consent, the poll suggested that Zapatero faces opposition in a movement to liberalize abortion law that extends well beyond the conservative opposition and the Catholic Church. In a Noxa poll published in the Barcelona daily La Vanguardia, 71 percent of Spaniards were against, and among Socialist voters, 60 percent.
Proposed legislation to allow abortion to minors abort without parental consent has become the most divisive clause in a bill the government approved last month and will send to Parliament later this year. The broader plan would allow abortion without restrictions up to 14 weeks of pregnancy, and after that under certain conditions.
Under current Spanish law, abortions are available under a clause that allows women to assert mental distress as a reason for ending a pregnancy, but this must be certified by a doctor. The procedure is also permitted in cases of rape or fetal malformation.
Zapatero's government argues that 16-year-olds can undergo other medical procedures with no need of parental consent. Thus abortion should also be freely available to them. Current law requires women to be at least 18 to get an abortion.
Conservatives say teenagers are too young to decide on their own whether to end a pregnancy and there must be parental input.
Spain’s Minister of Health, Trinidad Jiménez said in response to the results “What is important about this law in that it intends, precisely, to avoid coming to abortion.” Moreover, said the lifelong Socialist, “I would be a failure as a mother if my daughter would not come to tell me that she was to have an abortion.”