The Government is considering approving the new abortion law on Tuesday

The Government is considering approving the new abortion law on Tuesday

Demonstration in Madrid in favor of abortion. / CR

It would replace the 2010 term law, so it would render meaningless or contentless and deactivate the appeal against this right that the Constitutional Court debates

Alfonso Torres

The Government is working with the idea of ​​approving the abortion bill next Tuesday to send it immediately to Congress and try to have a new regulation in force, much more ambitious and complete than the 2010 deadline, in the first of 2023 .

The Executive is giving this last political push to the law just when the right to free and free abortion is in question and again on all the front pages of the planet in the face of the possibility that the US Supreme Court, with an ultra-conservative majority, will prohibit or limit it in that country after having authorized it 50 years ago.

The Council of Ministers will approve the project on Tuesday if in the five remaining school days the Ministry of Equality, which is the promoter of the norm, manages to close a final text with the rest of the socialist ministries involved in the drafting, which does not yet exist , since there are still "central points" of the new regulation under negotiation, as confirmed by government sources.

Girls of 16 and 17 years old will be able to interrupt pregnancy without parental permission, surrogacy intermediaries will be persecuted, it foresees a sick leave for painful periods and a tax reduction for feminine hygiene products

One of the key aspects for the Government is to prevent something similar to what is going to happen in the United States from happening in Spain. For this reason, the ministerial negotiators are considering that the new law is not a reform of the 2010 term law but a new abortion law, which replaces and repeals the previous one. If so, once it is approved, it would empty the content of the unconstitutionality appeal presented by the PP 12 years ago and that now the conservative president Pedro González Trevijano wants to take out of the drawer and bring to the plenary at least for a first debate before August. The popular challenge would decline, since, by annulling the 2010 rule, it would lose all its content and legal meaning.

To date, there is still no draft text closed, but the new rule, in addition to guaranteeing free, voluntary and free abortion in the first fourteen weeks of pregnancy in public hospitals in all communities, could also declare violence against women surrogacy, approve initiatives to promote menstrual health and prosecute bad gynecological and obstetric practices during pregnancy and childbirth.

in public hospitals

Among the less publicized points that are considered to be included in the project are the tax reduction or even the elimination of VAT on feminine hygiene products, the establishment of a medical leave of several days for women when they suffer painful periods, the prohibition and sanction with heavy fines from the advertising of intermediary agencies in surrogacy. The possibility that the courts can prosecute Spanish couples who try to circumvent the national ban by hiring surrogate mothers in foreign countries is even under debate.

The new law will guarantee voluntary interruptions of pregnancy in all public hospitals. It seeks to shield this right in public health and put an end to the obstacles that still prevent women from deciding freely about their lives, in the words of Irene Montero. The idea with which it works is that any woman over 16 years of age will be the only one to decide what to do with her body and her pregnancy and that, if she chooses to have an abortion, she will have it guaranteed in a public center, close to where she lives and choosing the most appropriate method.

To comply with it, it will more strictly regulate conscientious objection. The right of doctors “will be scrupulously respected”, but “it can never be an impediment to the free exercise of the right of women”. With the current law, the objection can be exercised by all health professionals in areas directly involved in carrying out an interruption of pregnancy and, at least on paper, they must do so in writing and in advance. Now, in addition, they must communicate the objection to an autonomous registry so that the health authorities can organize gynecology services and ensure that there is always a specialist who performs abortions.

The law will put order in the exercise of a right that has been distorted, since there are women who have to travel hundreds of kilometers in their own country because where they live there is not a single center that performs legal abortions. It will put an end to collective objections in a hospital or in an entire autonomy. The exercise will be individual, in writing, prior and registered.

prenatal leave

The current lack of control has led to only 21% of the almost 100,000 annual abortions being performed in public hospitals. The bulk is done in concerted clinics. In nine provinces, without adding Ceuta or Melilla, an abortion has never been performed since Felipe González decriminalized it in 1985 and in three others there has not been one in five years. A region the size of Madrid does not do them, not even in a single public hospital.

The reform will reverse the change that the PP made alone in 2015. Pregnant women aged 16 and 17 will no longer need parental permission to be able to abort. The three-day reflection period will also be abolished, the time a woman must wait by law before ratifying her intention to abort.

Another measure will be the regulation and promotion of pharmacological abortion, which does not require surgical intervention. An underused method in Spain (85% are operations), which, due to its simplicity, would allow the service to be extended to outpatient care. The negotiators are considering that the norm establishes that a newly created specific and free telephone number and the health centers themselves give all the information to pregnant women who require it, help them choose a method, refer them immediately to a hospital and inform them where to go if they get in the way of exercising the right.

Contraceptive promotion

The rule will try to eradicate the abuse of caesarean sections and episiotomies and will bring sex education to all schools and will create a new paid prenatal leave that any pregnant woman can use from week 36 until delivery. This permission will make it no longer necessary for the doctor to certify a risky pregnancy in order to rest the last few weeks. It will not affect the 16 weeks of maternity leave, which remain intact.

The law will oblige administrations to promote male contraceptive methods and distribute feminine hygiene products and children's diapers free of charge in prisons, schools, social centers and women's centers to guarantee the menstrual health of all, with special attention to women with less means.

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