A law liberalizing Spain’s abortion restrictions took effect yesterday, but remains under review in the country’s Constitutional Court. According to the Associated Press, the conservative Popular Party is challenging the legislation as unconstitutional, and the Court has agreed to study the appeal. The Court must now decide if the law should be suspended while the tribunal considers the case.
The new law, passed in February, allows abortion up to 14 weeks. It also gives 16 and 17-year-olds the right to have an abortion without parental consent. According to the Associated Press, the Popular Party claims that allowing abortion to 14 weeks contradicts a 1985 Constitutional Court ruling that said a woman’s right to abortion takes precedence over the rights of an unborn child only in cases of rape, fetal malformation, or when the health of the mother is at risk.
Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero stated Monday that he was confident the court would find the law constitutional, reports the Indo-Asian News Service. Reforming abortion law is part of a larger social change program undertaken by Zapatero. His Socialist government has already removed religion from the public education curriculum, reformed divorce laws, and legalized gay marriage since assuming power in 2004. If the enacted changes to abortion law are upheld, Spain’s policies will come in line with those of several neighboring European countries, including Britain, and France.