Regional abortion rights restrictions spark debate in Spain

Jan 13, 2023, 8:13 AM | Updated: Jan 17, 2023, 3:57 pm

MADRID (AP) — A regional government’s move to restrict abortion rights in a large part of central Spain reignited debate Friday on the issue in the southern European country, in the runup to this year’s local elections.

Under the new measures adopted by the conservative and far-right coalition governing the Castile and Leon region, women seeking an abortion there must be offered optional access to unsolicited resources by doctors before starting the procedure.

These include listening to the fetus’s heartbeat, having a 4D ultrasound scan, and getting psychological advice, in a bid to reduce the number of abortions.

Patients are free to turn down any of these suggestions.

The new measures were presented Thursday by the regional government’s far-right vice president, Juan García-Gallardo, whose Vox party is the junior coalition partner of Spain’s mainstream conservative Popular Party in Castile and Leon. Spain’s regional governments have jurisdiction over public health policy at a regional level. The country faces regional elections in June.

“We are going to offer every parent who wants to see it a real-time video to see the head, the hands, the feet, the fingers. In short, all the parts of the body of the child that is being gestated,” García-Gallardo said.

Spanish Health Minister Carolina Darias said that no compromises would be allowed in the field of abortion rights.

García-Gallardo insisted Friday that the measures would immediately enter into force in Castile and Leon, home to around 2,5 million of Spain’s 47 million inhabitants.

The announcement drew strong criticism across Spain, particularly from the left-wing central government. Most women ministers rushed to condemn what they described as an attack on women’s rights — a main political banner for Spain’s governing coalition.

A leading conservative figure and head of the Madrid region, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, jumped into the debate announcing a new anti-abortion helpline for pregnant women.

“Although the left doesn’t think so, it is women who must freely decide the information they want to receive,” said Ayuso.

In Spain, abortion is allowed up until the 14th week of pregnancy, and the country has recently made several moves to strengthen abortion rights nationwide.

Last year, the left-wing controlled parliament passed a law to ban the intimidation of women entering abortion clinics, where anti-abortion groups often used to demonstrate in a bid to make patients change their minds. The country also dumped the requirement for 16- and 17-year-olds to obtain parental consent before terminating a pregnancy.

While Catholicism is not Spain’s official faith, it retains a strong influence over parts of the population. Strongly Catholic for centuries, the country was governed from 1935-75 by the self-described national-Catholic regime of military dictator Gen. Francisco Franco.

___

This story has been corrected to show that Madrid region head Ayuso announced a new anti-abortion helpline, and did not criticize the new measure.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

This photo taken with a drone shows portions of a Norfolk and Southern freight train that derailed ...
Associated Press

Evacuations urged in Ohio town as train wreck smolders

EAST PALESTINE, Ohio (AP) — A smoldering tangle of dozens of derailed freight cars, some carrying hazardous materials, has kept an evacuation order in effect in Ohio near the Pennsylvania state line as environmental authorities warily watch air quality monitors. About 50 cars derailed in East Palestine at about 9 p.m. Friday as a train […]
14 hours ago
This image released by Universal Pictures shows Dave Bautista, from left, Abby Quinn, and Nikki Amu...
Associated Press

‘Knock at the Cabin’ knocks off ‘Avatar’ at the box office

NEW YORK (AP) — For the first time in almost two months, the box office doesn’t belong to blue people. After seven weeks as the top film in theaters, “Avatar: The Way of Water” was finally knocked out of the No. 1 spot by the M. Night Shyamalan thriller “Knock at the Cabin” and the […]
14 hours ago
NASCAR Cup Series drivers Chris Buescher (17) and Alex Bowman (48) participate during a practice se...
Associated Press

Ally Financial expands NASCAR spend with 2 new partnerships

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Ally Financial has expanded its growing portfolio as a top NASCAR sponsor with a deal to become the official bank of the stock car series and NASCAR-owned race tracks. The multiyear deal was announced Sunday ahead of NASCAR’s exhibition extravaganza at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and led to the creation […]
14 hours ago
President Joe Biden speaks at the Democratic National Committee winter meeting, Friday, Feb. 3, 202...
Associated Press

Biden’s State of the Union to tout policy wins on economy

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden will use his second State of the Union address on Tuesday to remind Americans of how their lives have been improved over his first two years in office, as he tries to confront pessimism in the country and navigate the tricky politics of a newly divided Washington. Rather than […]
14 hours ago
(Pexels Photo)...
Associated Press

NFL offering free CPR training during Super Bowl week

The NFL and American Heart Association will provide free CPR education in Arizona throughout Super Bowl week as part of the NFL Experience.
14 hours ago
/// State Sen. Clarence Lam, a Maryland Democrat who is a physician at Johns Hopkins, speaks during...
Associated Press

As many as 80K Marylanders could lose Medicaid eligibility

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Maryland officials are preparing for as many as 80,000 residents who could no longer qualify for Medicaid coverage this spring, as the federal government reinstates a requirement that existed before the COVID-19 pandemic for states to verify the eligibility of recipients. Michele Eberle, the executive director of the Maryland Health Benefit […]
14 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Company looking for oldest air conditioner and wants to reward homeowner with new one

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.
...
Fiesta Bowl Foundation

Celebrate 50 years of Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade magic!

Since its first production in the early 1970s, the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe has been a staple of Valley traditions, bringing family fun and excitement to downtown Phoenix.
...
Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.
Regional abortion rights restrictions spark debate in Spain