Spain Seen as Violating Consciences

Organization Speaks Up for Doctors' Rights

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JAEN, Spain, FEB. 25, 2009 (Zenit.org).- As Spain considers liberalizing its already free abortion law, a national association is warning that the change would be a violation to the conscience rights of health care workers.



Spain already has one of Europe's highest abortion rates, with the current law allowing for abortion under any circumstance deemed a concern for the mother's physical or mental health. However, a mother has to get a doctor's order certifying that her unborn child is a danger to her physical or mental health and the new law under consideration would eliminate this step for early stages of pregnancy.

According to a statement today from the Asociación Nacional para la Defensa del Derecho a la Objeción de Conciencia (Nacional Association for the Defense of the Right to Conscientious Objection), the legislation "only responds to ideological motives."

The statement affirmed that the bill gives health care workers the "dilemma of yielding to an ideology or bearing the corresponding job and professional consequences." It noted that there is little "escape" since the majority of Spanish health care workers are employed by the public system.

The association explained that the new law would change abortion from a "legal offense" to a "right that can be exercised in a determined time."

This would imply, they cautioned, an added pressure for health care workers, who before could refuse to perform abortions without needing to call on an objection of conscience. With the new legislation, abortion would be considered a medical act that can be demanded.