Last week, a conference on the draft bill focusing on the “protection of the life of the unborn child and the rights of pregnant women” was held in the Spanish Parliament in the presence of 150 representatives of 16 European and South American* countries, not to mention certain Spanish MPs. The conference ended with the signing of the Declaration of Madrid, in recognition of the defence of human life.
This conference was organised by the Global Action of Parliamentarians and Governance for Life and Family. Amongst the participants in this conference, ZENIT cites Grégor Puppinck, Director of the ECJL (European Centre for Law and Justice).
The latter declared that the Spanish draft bill complies with the European and international legal framework. In fact, nowhere is there any reference to a “right to abortion”: for Grégor Puppinck, abortion should not be considered as a “positive and subjective unilateral right taking just one interest into account, namely that of the mother”. This approach comes down to denying “part of reality”, i.e. the unborn child. “If there is really a right to abortion, it should remove all limits and authorise it without any conditions regarding timescales”.
Mr. Puppinck explained that recognition of the unborn child called for two interests to be considered: the interest of the mother and that of the child, which looks at abortion “from a bilateral legal perspective”. Abortion legislation has been drafted on the basis of this approach.
He suggests going even further, understanding abortion from a multilateral approach. Given the fact that abortion is also a social and economic problem, it must include the social context of the mother-child relationship. Thus, to exceed mother-child conflict, it suggests involving other players, mainly the family and society, in order to find solutions other than abortion. In fact, the “causes are generally outside the mother-child relationship and can usually be found in social, economic and emotional difficulties”. Heading in this direction, “the conference recommends developing social services to assist the mother and child as well as efficient alternatives to abortion”.
A reminder of what the Spanish draft bill comprises:
– Authorised exception to the right to life (abortion): In the first 14 weeks of pregnancy in the case of rape; first 22 weeks where the mother or child is in danger (the risk must be confirmed by an independent committee of experts); up to full term in the case of “incompatibility with life” not diagnosed in the first 22 weeks of pregnancy and certified medically. The 22 week timescale corresponds to the viability threshold of the child established by the WHO;
– The abortion must not be made public;
– Doctors and medical personnel are entitled to invoke conscientious objection to refuse to carry out an abortion;
– The parents of a minor have the right to be informed that their daughter is pregnant;
– The pregnant woman must be informed of the fact that she has time to reflect.
The Spanish draft bill should soon be discussed “in order to be adopted before Christmas 2014”.
* Argentina, Armenia, Chile, Ecuador, Salvador, Slovakia, Spain, France, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Macedonia, Hungary, Italy, Mexico, Poland, Portugal, United Kingdom and the Czech Republic