Spain: Bishops struggle following the legalization of abortion

Source: FSSPX News

The law legalizing abortion in Spain was definitively adopted on February 24th, 2010 by 132 Spanish senators against 126 votes and one abstention. Despite opposition on the part of Catholics and Conservatives, they were unable to stop the text presented by José Luis Zapatero’s Socialist government.

Women will now be able to abort freely in Spain up to 14 weeks of pregnancy and up to 22 weeks in the case of “health risks” for the mother and/or “serious anomalies in the fetus”, making Spain one of the most liberal countries in the matter.  To interrupt a pregnancy at a later date, an authorization delivered by a doctors’ commission will be required. In the case of an offence, the woman will not be sentenced to prison but simply fined. Minors under 16 years of age will be able to request an abortion without parental agreement, after having informed one of the parents of the decision beforehand.

As soon as the day following the vote, Bishop Juan Antonio Martinez Camino, Secretary General for the Spanish Episcopal Conference and auxiliary bishop of Madrid, asked the government to cancel this legislation immediately. He described the law as “a serious step backward for unborn children’s right to life” and compared the new rules on interrupting pregnancies to a “licence to kill children”. It is likely to promote “an increase in the number of mothers rejecting their pregnancy”, since this state of affairs is liable to “cause great harm to the common good”. In his intervention, Bishop Camino spoke of the consequences of these measures in education, judging the risk of “instrumentalization” one of the most disturbing aspects of the new law which may turn “education into a tool for the pro-abortion ideology”.

On March 25th, during the “Unborn Life Day”, the Church of Spain launched a large-scale campaign informing people against the new law on abortion, with the slogan: ¡Es mi vida! Está en tus manos” (this is my life; it is in your hands) and a picture of a new-born child being held in his parents’ hands. Bishop Camino declared on this occasion that the Church would put the various institutions already engaged in the support of women in difficulty at the disposal of the future mothers, so that they would not fall into this trap. “To be against abortion does not mean being against women and mothers,” he added. Quite to the contrary, to hold out a helping hand to women in difficulty following their pregnancy is precisely what the State refuses to do.

To that effect, over 1 300 posters and six million information pamphlets were distributed, to which the Spanish Bishops decided to add a page on their website giving the list of the different institutions now providing assistance to pregnant women to prevent abortions. The list cited includes civil associations such as Red Madre, Provida or Adevida, and projects launched directly by religious congregations and dioceses, such as the Family Orientation Centers (COF) and secretariats for the defense of life. “The Episcopal Conference goes against no one,” Bishop Camino recalled. “It acts in favour of those who have a right to life, in favour of mothers who have a right to receive support from the State, and in favour of a society that has a right to just laws.” (Sources: apic/imedia/kna/fides – DICI issue number 216, June 5th , 2010)