MADRID, Spain, FEB. 26, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The Spanish bishops are denouncing the recent liberalization of abortion laws in the country as a “serious step backward in the protection of the right to life.”
Auxiliary Bishop Juan Antonio Martínez Camino of Madrid, who is a spokesman for Spain’s episcopal conference, said Thursday at a press conference that the law is also “a greater abandonment of expectant mothers as well as, in the last analysis, a very serious destruction of the common good.”
Bishop Martínez addressed the press at the end of a meeting of the permanent commission of the bishops’ conference, which took place the day after the Senate in Spain voted to allow abortion without restrictions up to 14 weeks.
The new legislation also allows for 16- and 17- year olds to have an abortion without parental consent, although they are required to inform their parents.
Previously, abortions were illegal except for cases of rape (up to week 12) and in cases where the fetus was malformed (up to week 22). Women could also abort at any time if it was determined that the woman was under emotional distress.
The new legislation permits abortion up to 22 weeks if the mother’s health is at risk, or if there is a fetal malformation. And abortion beyond 22 weeks is allowed if the fetus is severely malformed, or diagnosed with a serious or incurable disease.
King Juan Carlos I is now required by the Constitution to sign the law for it to become law.
King’s unique position
When asked about the decision now facing the king, Bishop Martínez said the bishops’ conference “does not want to pronounce itself on the responsibility and unique act that the king exercises on sanctioning the law.”
The spokesman of the Spanish bishops differentiated the situation of Juan Carlos I from that of politicians in voting for the law. “It is different to sanction the law than to vote on it,” he said.
“As the king’s act is unique, very different from that of a politician who gives his vote to this law being able not to give it, the [conference] is not going to give advice. General principles are not possible,” the bishop added.
Referring to its content, the bishop described as “sad” and “grave” the approval of “a law that changes abortion into a supposed right,” “a law that gives license to kill one’s children.”
Bishop Martínez stressed “the will of the Church to continue defending the right to life of those about to be born.”
At the same time, he pointed out that the Church understands “the problems that the expectant mother can meet in her life” and offers “alternatives to the tragedy and crime of abortion.”
He also recalled that Pro-life Day in Spain is March 25, and that the bishops hope it “will be an important moment for the revitalization of the consciences of the citizens who will demand the abolition of this law as soon as possible.”