Source: El Pais newspaper, 11/07/08
Government steps in to protect identity of women who abort
Aiming to put words into action after last weekend’s Socialist Party convention, the Cabinet plans to take the first step today on the road to revamping Spain’s existing abortion laws.
While there are still a number of issues to resolve before a final reform bill on the conditions in which abortion is legal can be introduced to Congress, the Cabinet will today decree that the identity of women having abortions must remain confidential from the first visit they make to an authorized clinic and cannot be accessed later, even by judicial order.
The new decree, which was drafted by the Health and Justice Ministries, comes in response to recent investigations into the activities of abortion clinics in which women patients have been called as witnesses.
Apart from protecting the identity of women, the new regulations also aim to make confidential the identity of the doctors that carry out abortions.
In some cases, medics are still charged by judges under dubious circumstances for carrying out allegedly illegal abortions. Critics of Spain’s present abortion law see it as too rigid. For example, women pregnant as the result of rape must abort within 12 weeks, although the terms are longer should the termination be necessary for health reasons.