The Constitutional wants to open the debate on abortion before the holidays

The TC has spent twelve years without issuing a ruling on the appeal filed by Rajoy's PP in 2010 against the law of deadlines

Alfonso Torres

The president of the Constitutional Court (TC), the conservative Pedro González Trevijano, wants to have a first debate on the appeal against the 2010 abortion law before the magistrates' vacations begin in August.

It prepares the discussion at the same time that the ultra-conservative majority of the Supreme Court of the United States is preparing to repeal the right to free and voluntary interruption of pregnancy in that country, which the same highest judicial body established half a century ago.

González Trevijano's claim is not to leave office, which officially expires next June, without having activated at least the resolution of an appeal that has already brought out the colors of three presidents of the court of guarantees, since it has been practically stored in a drawer 12 years, since the PP deputies challenged nine articles of the term law promoted by José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero and his Government for alleged unconstitutionality. This rule contemplates that in the first 14 weeks of gestation the decision to abort is free, provided that the pregnant woman has been informed of the rights and public aid to support maternity.

The current president of the TC, who commissioned Enrique Arnaldo, also a conservative, to prepare a first draft resolution months ago, aspired to take the paper to a plenary session this month. The objective was to achieve a first temperature assessment of the different positions of the magistrates and the possibilities of moving towards a consensual sentence or at least a very majority one. However, the anticipated call of the Andalusian regional elections for June 19 has crossed their path and, with it, the unwritten custom in the Spanish courts of avoiding electoral interference with the debate of causes of high political content in the period election or pre-election.

The unforeseen Andalusian means that this first debate on the constitutionality of the law of terms can be transferred to one of the plenary sessions to be held in July. However, when that happens, if González Trevijano finally manages to fulfill his wish, four of the magistrates who participate in the first confrontation of positions, including the president himself, will have already exhausted their nine-year legal mandate in court.

The Government and the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ), with two appointments each, must relieve the vacant magistrates. It is not a trivial change, because, if it occurs in a timely manner, it would alter the current conservative majority of the court, in which the progressives would have the advantage of seven to five (now it is the other way around).

This hypothetical handover in court for next fall - coupled with the fact that although the case undergoes a first debate this summer, it is almost certain that it will require more discussions and, possibly, several phases of amendments and redactions of the paper, given the delicate and glassy nature of the matter- suggests that it will be the already renewed court that will resolve the challenge. If so, the advances that could occur this summer in the preparation of the draft sentence could be totally or partially invalidated if a majority ends up deciding on the final work of the court with the opposite sensitivity to the current one.

In march a new law of interruption of the pregnancy

The Government has already launched the 2010 abortion law reform, which has not yet reached Congress for discussion. The norm elaborated by the Ministry of Equality will guarantee the voluntary interruptions of pregnancy in all public hospitals. Only 21% of the almost 100,000 annual abortions are performed in public health. The future law will reverse the reform that the PP made alone in 2015. Then, with an absolute majority, it could have repealed the system of terms that it had challenged in 2010, but it was limited to a minimal modification: that pregnant women of 16 and 17 will need parental permission to have an abortion. The current executive wants to eliminate this precept and abolish the 3-day reflection period, the time to wait before ratifying her intention to abort.

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