Spain is to weaken its plans to reform the country’s liberal abortion laws, by allowing abortion for babies with disabilities.
The Government had unveiled a Bill which makes abortion illegal except in cases of rape or if there was a threat to the physical or mental health of the mother. The current law, introduced in 2010 by the previous Government, allows abortion-on-demand up to 14 weeks into pregnancy.
But the Justice Ministry has amended the Bill to allow abortions if the baby has an abnormality, following recommendations from the General Council of the Judiciary – the body which governs the courts – and the Attorney Council.
There have been protests from pro-abortionists in Spain since the reforms were announced in December last year.
Spain had a similar law between 1985 and 2010, which allowed abortion only in the case of rape, foetal abnormality, or when the physical or mental health of the mother was at risk.
The Bill is due for Government approval in July, and is expected to come into force later this year.
The UK allows for disability abortions right up to birth.
Tory MP Fiona Bruce has called for the Government to review the abortion law, explaining that it “cannot be right” for a society which claims to respect disabled people to “prevent their very existence” in this way.
Speaking during a House of Commons debate earlier this year, she said many would be shocked to discover they can be aborted “as many as 16 weeks beyond the 24-week threshold for able-bodied babies”.
“But the moment after birth, a whole panoply of rights and support suddenly comes into play for the disabled child”, she commented.
Mrs Bruce then spoke of her experience giving birth to her son, Sam, who was born with club foot, a condition for which abortion up to birth is allowed.
“Yet”, she said, “within minutes of his birth, the hospital telephoned its specialist in treating club feet, who was on leave at the time and who rushed in within two hours to begin manipulating Sam’s foot.”
“It is hard to think that such a treatable disability could have deprived him of life, and he is far from alone”, she added.