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Spanish Socialists Vow to Make Liberalize Abortion Laws

by Medindia Content Team on  February 3, 2008 at 12:22 PM Women Health News   - G J E 4
Spanish Socialists Vow to Make Liberalize Abortion Laws
Spain's Socialist government will pass a bill to ensure the confidentiality of women going through abortions and would bring in more measures to liberalize abortion laws, if voted back to power. National elections due in March.
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"The government is not going to permit infringements of the rights of any woman who has had to, or will have to, face the painful decision of interrupting a pregnancy," Deputy Prime Minister Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega told reporters Friday after a weekly cabinet meeting.

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Fernandez de la Vega said the bill — which the government wants parliament to pass before the general election on March 9 — would limit local government powers to inspect clinics and provide greater confidentiality for patients' records and medical personnel.

Police raided and shut down private abortion clinics in Barcelona and Madrid in November and December, acting on complaints from pro-life, church-affiliated groups, which claimed the facilities were carrying out illegal abortions.

Thirteen people were arrested and around 25 women were visited by police at their homes and called in for questioning by judges.

Private clinics, which conduct more than 90 per cent of abortions in Spain, staged a five-day strike in protest. The clinics' association called for the government to reform the law so that women may end pregnancies up to 12 or 16 weeks on demand.

Spain's Socialist government is to rush through legislation to strengthen confidentiality for women who have had abortions, and has pledged to further improve the abortion law if re-elected in March.

"The government is not going to permit infringements of the rights of any woman who has had to, or will have to, face the painful decision of interrupting a pregnancy," Deputy Prime Minister Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega told reporters Friday after a weekly cabinet meeting.

Fernandez de la Vega said the bill — which the government wants parliament to pass before the general election on March 9 — would limit local government powers to inspect clinics and provide greater confidentiality for patients' records and medical personnel.

The Socialists included such a clause in their 2004 electoral program but quietly dropped the issue after taking office. They recently promised to begin a wide-ranging social debate on updating the law.

Fernandez de la Vega said the Socialists would seek "to improve" current legislation should they win the election but did not elaborate further.

Spain's law allows abortion in the first 12 weeks in case of rape, 22 weeks if fetal malformation exists and at any time if a woman's physical or mental health is deemed to be in danger by a qualified psychiatrist.

More than 90 per cent of the 100,000 abortions carried out in 2007 in Spain fell into the last category: women citing mental distress.

Source: Medindia
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