Monday, July 21, 2008

Joint Spanish NGO Statement- Madrid July 14th

We would like to share with you all a common statement launched today by the Spanish Federation of Family Planning (FPFE); the Spanish Society of Contraception (SEC); the Spanish Federation of Associations Defending Public Health (FADSP); and the Spanish Association of Clinics Accredited for the Voluntary Interruption of Pregnancies (ACAI), concerning the situation of abortion in Spain.

Kind regards,

Alejandra Herranz
Communication Officer
Spanish Federation of Family Planning- FPFE

Common Statement by FPFE, SEC, FADSP and ACAI

A law allowing abortion on demand with a gestational limit and decriminalizing it, are be the best formula to guarantee the right to abortion

Madrid, July 14, 2008.- The Spanish Federation of Family Planning; the Spanish Society of Contraception; the Spanish Federation of Associations Defending Public Health; and the Spanish Association of Clinics Accredited for the Voluntary Interruption of Pregnancies, have expressed in a common statement their satisfaction for the announcement from the Government to modify the current legislation on abortion.

The common statement includes the signatures of Ms Isabel Serrano Fuster, gynaecologist and President of the Spanish Federation of Family Planning (FPFE); Ms Esther de la Viuda, gynaecologist and President of the Spanish Society of Contraception (SEC); Ms Carmen Ortíz Ibáñez, radiologist and President of the Spanish Federation of Associations Defending Public Health (FADSP); and Mr Santiago Barambio, gynaecologist and President of the Spanish Association of Clinics Accredited for the Voluntary Interruption of Pregnancies (ACAI). Such common statement reflects the institutional, common position of the four entities that have reached consensus on abortion and the reasons to modify the current legislation.

The common statement stresses the following:

The reasons to broaden the legal framework are the same of the past years, however, like many other times, many individuals (for example, women who have aborted legally but even this, they were humiliated without mercy) have to suffer in order to change the situation of the abortion legal framework.

A woman could have more than 25 sons or daughters if she does not use any contraceptive method to avoid pregnancies. No one discuss the fact that pregnancies must be planned with contraceptive methods. However, even using contraceptive methods, unwanted pregnancies can happen. Forced pregnancies, are nonsense.

If we accept the human right to control fertility, we have to recognise the right to choose on all those aspects linked to sexual and reproductive life, in addition to access all the necessary health care.

From these premises, two elements should guide any change concerning the legal regulation of the pregnancy interruption; the acknowledgement that woman are the one and only that can decide on their pregnancies as well as the acknowledgement of the implication of the Public Health care.

With the current legal framework, women do not have the last word. At present, in Spain, abortion is considered a crime except in case a doctor authorises a woman to abort. However, this evidence has not been the engine of change but what has open the eyes of many individuals concerning the fact of the confirmation of any anti-choice associations (commonly know as “pro-life”), pursue with impunity those women. Or even the Civil Guard or the Police can take women to declare at Court or even that their clinical records can be made public.

The role of the Spanish Health Care System

Protecting health means reducing abortions, starting from the improvement of family planning services, as well as guaranteeing the practice of abortions in safe, adequate health conditions. Despite this, there has done a little concerning prevention, and the public health care related to abortion is more deficient. A woman does not know where to go because neither her health centre nor her specialist, want to know about her problem. Even those women with fetus with malformations, have been derived from a public hospital to private ones, generally due to purely ideological reasons. The majority of abortions are paid by women and many of them have to leave their autonomous / regional community for there are not public resources or private ones to provide health care to these women. Sometimes, such women have to put up with the mistreat of professionals “protected” by the conscientious objection.

What do we expect from the Government?

We hope that the current legislation will change in a brave, decided way. We hope that those changes proposed by the Socialist Party will include abortion (together with its protocols and human and material resources) in those services given trough the National Health Care System.

Women are not respected nor protected if they are not allowed to decide freely upon something that is closely linked to their intimacy, like the fact of undergoing an abortion or not. The fact of supposing that women should be controlled for they can damage themselves or even acting happily concerning such a painful situation is simply cruel. Women who abort are legally adults and should not be slated as they have lately been. Thus, we need a legal framework to allow abortion by women’s decision within a right gestation term.

The next step is to define the term we are speaking about. Recent statements by the Spanish Society of Gyneacology and Obstetrics (SEGO) said that from a medical point of view the abortion is acceptable until the 22 weeks of gestation. The most developed countries in Europe keep this 22-weeks term which allow the incorporation of serious pathological cases or even malformated fetus –many of them can be diagnosed in the second quarter.

In our opinion, a bill of terms until 22 weeks plus the fact of stopping considering abortion as a crime should be the best formula to guarantee the right to abortion.

The PSOE and the Government have the opportunity to do something else to defend women. Along the way, both will have by their side those organizations committed to sexual and reproductive health, family planning, contraception, the right to abortion and the public health care system.

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