COURSE: (14168) GENDER AND SEX
IN ENGLISH-LANGUAGE TEXTS
ABORTION LAWS: SPAIN AND FRANCE
The Spanish law of the abortion was established in 1985. This law said that abortion won’t be punished in the following cases: 1. In case that the health of the mother could be damaged physically or psychologically, 2.in case that the pregnancy is result of a rape (only until thefirst 12 weeks and if the rape is denounced) and 3.on the assumption that the fetus is going to be born with physical or psychological defects (only until the first 22 weeks of gestation).
Spanish government has considered that this law needs some changes and has developed a new law of abortion. This new law allows women to have free abortion until the first 14 weeks of gestation and until thefirst 22 if there is a risk for the health or life of the fetus or the woman. There will be no limit of time for abortion if a extremely serious disease is discovered or if there are incompatible anomalies with life.
In this paper I am going to compare the Spanish law on abortion with the French law on abortion. This law allows free abortion until the 12th week of gestation. This period of timecan be exceeded only in the case that two doctors of a multidisciplinary team prove that there is risk for life or/and health of the mother, or disease or malformations of the fetus. Every woman underage has to go to a health office with an consultant from a centre of family planning. She must also have the consent of at least one of her parents. If she wanted to have it in secret, there is anotherpossibility which is to go with an adult of her choice.
The French law is very different from the current Spanish law on abortion, while it is similar to the reform that has been proposed by the government. In the new Spanish proposal, underage women can also have an abortion, and the time to have a free abortion is quite similar, although there are two weeks of difference. What is necessaryto mention is that in France, abortion is legal since 1975, and they have modified their law in 2001, when they extend the period to abort in 2 weeks, they have free abortion until the tenth week before.
In Spain, the abortion law dates from 1985 and it is stricter than the French one, even it was passed ten years later.
With the new proposal we can observe many similarities, as for examplethat underage woman can interrupt their pregnancy without the permission of their parents. This is maybe the point in law that has shocked many people, mainly those people that initially are pro-abortion. This starts an extra debate that is added to the one of the abortion itself. A survey made by an important newspaper in Spain, El País, shows that the 74% of the voters believe that parentsshould be informed whether their daughter has had an abortion.
In Catalonia for example, the 21% of the girls between 14 and 19 have an active sexual life, and more than the 50% of them say that have never used a contraceptive method. The rate of adolescent pregnancies is 10‰ and near 14% of women that have an abortion is under 19 years old.
The number of abortions carried out in Spain during2006 is 101.592, which is twice the number of abortions made a decade before. This information has lighten the debate between the pro-life and pro-abortion. Both parts have something in common: they agree that an abortion is the less desirable option to a woman and that a better sexual education is needed in order to stop this increasement of abortions. But this seems to be the only thing thatboth sides have in common.
Abortion has always been an issue that has carried lots of different opinions. In Spain, as the catholic tradition is really present and hard in influence, those people who do not agree with abortion are really against this law. They believe that an abortion is a murder and it has been compared in some media to the genocide that Hitler did or as Cardinal Antonio...