17th April 2024
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Spain’s constitutional court finally rejects abortion law challenge, from 13 years ago

Spain’s Constitutional Court on Thursday rejected a challenge lodged more than a decade ago by the right-wing People’s Party (PP) against a law allowing abortions in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy.

The legal challenge from 2010 had ‘not obtained the support’ of the court, the verdict said. The main opposition PP’s legal argument had centered on the constitutionality of the right to life of the foetus.

‘The Abortion Law is constitutional,’ tweeted Spain’s Equality Minister Irene Montero, from the coalition’s left-wing Podemos group. ‘Never again should 13 years go by questioning a single right’ for women. Such delays are not uncommon in Spanish courts.

Abortion has once again become a politically sensitive issue in Spain in an election year. Juan García-Gallardo, the vice-president of the regional government of Castilla y León from the far-right Vox party, proposed in January that doctors should have to give women a chance to listen to foetal heartbeats and see four-dimensional ultrasound scans before any abortion procedure. The idea was subsequently dropped. Spain’s regional governments have jurisdiction over public health policy at a regional level. ALSO READ: Political fallout in Castilla y León over far-right’s anti-abortion rules.

The 2010 abortion law was a major shift for a traditionally Catholic country under the leadership of former Socialist Prime Minister José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero. The law allowed for on-demand abortion at up to 14 weeks, and at up to 22 weeks if there was a serious threat to the health of the mother, or foetal malformation.

The PP has long sided with the Roman Catholic Church on moral and social issues. However, following the court’s decision, the PP’s current leader Alberto Núñez Feijóo said the existing window for abortion access in Spain was ‘correct’ and that he would respect the court’s decision.

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