The offensive against the right to abortion must stop

Press release
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Our organisations firmly denounce the adoption of a legal amendment by the Spanish parliament limiting women’s access to abortion. This is the second time that Mariano Rajoy’s government has launched such an offensive. The People’s Party must put an end to its attack on reproductive rights.

On 14 April 2015, members of the Spanish parliament voted to adopt an amendment to the law on abortion, making it obligatory for minors over the age of 16 to obtain their parents’ permission before getting an abortion. In the event of a disagreement, the decision is to be taken by a judge. Until now, girls between the ages of 16 and 18 who wished to get an abortion were legally required to inform their parents, as long as doing so did not put them in danger, but not to obtain their consent. The People’s Party, which holds the governing majority, which had attempted in 2014 to push forward a law severely restricting access to abortion, renewed its offensive just ahead of the local and parliamentary elections. Although the amendment contained a narrower reform, it is a dangerous move. This was an election-driven bill intended to appeal to the most conservative voters. Once again, women are bearing the brunt of political games,” declared Khadija Cherif, Coordinator of the FIDH Action Group for Women’s Rights.

Restrictions on abortion rights have tragic consequences for the right to life, health, education, and participation of girls and women in public life. This law attacks the most vulnerable: girls who are old enough to be sexually active but who do not always have access to contraception or information on family planning. This text is targeting those whose futures would be the most compromised by carrying a pregnancy to term,” stated Karim Lahidji, FIDH President, adding, Young girls are also more exposed to sexual abuse, especially incest. Recourse to abortion should be facilitated for them, rather than the reverse.”

In 2013, the Spanish Minister of Justice submitted a bill that prohibited abortion except in cases of rape (on the condition that the victim filed a complaint) or serious danger to the life or the physical or mental health of the mother. In September 2014, after massive public mobilisation against the bill, the government backed down and the bill was withdrawn.

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