IVF legislation: Spain and France, mobilisation of pro- and anti-abortion campaigners

Publié le : 15 January 2014

 In December 2013, the Spanish Council of Ministers approved a draft bill aimed at limiting abortion (Gènéthique press review on December 23rd, 2013). France, on the other hand, is ready to discuss the draft law ensuring equality between men and women and according to which abortion is an entitlement (Gènéthique press review on December 23rd, 2013). 

Both laws, which are totally opposed to each other, have triggered numerous reactions among pro- and anti-abortion campaigners.  
As far as Spain is concerned, the Socialist Working Party (PSOE) denounces "an incomprehensible attack on women’s rights". For pro-life associations, however, "this reform is the fruit of all [their] hard work," explained Dr. Gador Joya, paediatrician and spokesperson for the "Derecho a Vivir" ("Right to Life") campaign. He added that the 2010 Zapatero reform that legalised abortion "did not satisfy any social requirement". Right-wing Senator Luis Peral pointed out that his party has always defended the right to life, which is also incorporated in the PP (Popular Party) statutes: "After taking up office, Ruiz-Gallardon [Justice Minister] started to draft a bill, consulting several sources: MPs and pro-life associations, etc.". He stated that the conditions for abortion must be re-established to ‘"prevent freedom of choice, which currently prevails up to fourteen weeks1. Eugenic abortion is despicable", claimed the senator with particular reference to foetuses aborted following diagnosis of Downs Syndrome.     
 As far as France is concerned, just days away from the National Assembly debate on equality between men and women (scheduled to start on 20 January 2014), anti-abortion campaigners are preparing for the Marche pour la Vie (March for Life) to be held on 19 January. The reason? Fear of trivialising abortion. UMP MP Philippe Gosselin pointed out that: "Abortion is nowadays an exception in the conditions fixed by law. It could become a right like any other". The amendments to be voted upon "totally reflect the embodiment of the 1975 law". This amendment "cannot be made on the quiet". 
(1) The July 2010 law authorises abortion up to 14 weeks without having to explain the decision and up to 22 weeks when the mother’s health is at risk and/or in the event of serious foetal anomalies.

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