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Abortion law reform aproved by Parlamient is a serious threat to young women

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Alianza por la Solidaridad considers the draft bill approved last Tuesday by the Spanish Parliament a serious threat to the sexual and reproductive health and rights of young women as it creates unjustified barriers to accessing safe and legal abortions.

derecho al aborto

Alianza por la Solidaridad has previously requested the withdrawal of the bill, the same day it was launched by the Popular Party The vote was passed by the Spanish Parliament with 184 votes in favor to 136 against.

A month ago, Alianza por la Solidaridad along with 22 Spanish and international organizations sent a letter to Mr. Rafael HernandoSpokesperson of the Popular Party Parliamentary Group expressing our deep concern and requesting the withdrawal of the draft legislation.

The reform would force all 16 and 17-year-olds to obtain consent from their parents, or legal guardians before terminating an unwanted pregnancy, even in cases in which this requirement could place them at risk of serious conflict, violence, or abuse. This eliminates the protection offered by the current legislation, which allows young women not to inform their parents if there is a risk of domestic violence, threats, coercion, abuse, or it may lead to alienation or hardship. Under the new bill, a parent’s refusal to give consent could only be challenged in court, raising serious concerns about girls’ well-being and whether the courts would be able to make decisions in a timely manner.

In 2014, 3.6% of all abortions in Spain involved girls of between 16 and 17 years of age, Of these, only 12.38% (400 girls) did not inform their parents for the following reasons: lack of parental support, broken families, parents in prison, risk of abuse, girls whose parents reside outside the country, a disabling parental illness, or parents openly against abortion.

International human rights law recognizes that access to safe and legal abortions is fundamental to women and girl’s exercise of their human rights, , including the rights to life, freedom from discrimination, equality, health, and privacy. The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child has determined that in accordance with their evolving capacities, 16 and 17-year-old girls should be able to access sexual and reproductive health services without parental consent. The European Court of Human Rights has established that parents of teenage girls do not necessarily have the right to make decisions concerning their reproductive choices.

Moreover, the UN Working Group on Discrimination against Women in Law and Practice noted in December 2014 after a mission to Spain that the proposed bill “would further restrict girls’ access to safe and legal abortion” and would expose them to risk.

Alianza por la Solidaridad rejects the content of the bill proposed by the Popular Party and demands its immediate withdrawal. Rather than adopting measures that will restrict access to abortion, in order to give effect to the human rights of women and girls the government of Spain should take effective measures to ensure free and informed access to safe and legal abortion services, without discrimination. It should also ensure access to affordable birth control and support services.

Alianza por la Solidaridad has been working for more than 20 years promoting women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights on three continents. We defend women’s access to safe and legal abortions nationally and globally. Worldwide, 47,000 women die every year due to unsafe abortions, , most of them in countries where access to safe and legal abortion is criminalized or restricted by law. Unsafe abortions currently constitute 13 % of maternal mortality worldwide. By approving this bill, the government is putting the rights, health and lives of women at serious risk.

CARTA REFORMA DE LA LEY DEL ABORTO (ESPAÑOL)

LETTER ABORTION LAW REFORM (ENGLISH)


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