Numerous Spanish doctors refuse abortion, despite procedure being legal

by Lorraine Williamson
abortion law in Spain

MADRID – Abortion has been legal in Spain since 2010. However, more and more Spanish doctors are struggling with conscientious objection. As a result of which, more and more public hospitals in Spain do not perform this procedure. Therefore, this makes the possibility of an abortion increasingly difficult in Spain. 

Abortion remains a taboo in many parts of the world, even though the woman with an unwanted pregnancy is 100% behind her choice and this procedure is legally permitted in more and more countries. The New York Times writes on Tuesday many doctors in Spain struggle with conscientious objection when it comes to abortion. 

Both women and doctors make a choice 

A gynecologist working in a Zaragoza hospital says: “A woman can decide for herself what to do with her body. As a doctor, however, I can also make the choice myself whether to perform an abortion, yes or no.” 

Possibility of abortion more difficult for women in Spain 

While this may seem a legitimate premise, in some Spanish regions or provinces, no public hospital performs this procedure. This is the case in Aragon and Jaén, among others. Women do have their own choice. But it is made more difficult when the most accessible hospitals in the area do not want to help them. However, expensive private clinics do perform abortions. But in many cases, women have to travel further or be able to afford an expensive procedure or both. 

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Discussion about abortion by refusing doctors again 

The number of hospitals where women can have abortions is shrinking. This is a result of doctors in the country refusing to perform these procedures. In other parts of the world, such as Italy, Argentina, Texas, and Mexico, this has led to a new debate over whether or not to legalise abortion. Because of this reality, the women themselves also get the feeling that they are doing something that is not correct or socially responsible. 

Spanish Ministry wants to curb objections to doctors 

There are no official figures of doctors refusing to perform an abortion. Still, Equality Minister Irene Montero suggested earlier this year that the current abortion law be amended to limit doctors’ ability to object. “Physicians with conscientious objection should not prevent women from exercising their right to voluntary termination of pregnancy.” This statement was met with strong criticism from the Spanish medical community. 

Under what conditions is abortion allowed in Spain? 

In Spain, abortion of a pregnancy under 14 weeks is freely allowed. If the woman is between 14 and 22 weeks pregnant, the pregnancy may only be terminated if there is an imminent danger to the health of the mother or if serious abnormalities are found in the baby. In 2020, Spain amended the law. This meant that 16 and 17-year-old women no longer need permission from a parent or guardian to have an abortion. 

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