Conscientious objection to abortion under threat in Spain

By SPUC—the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children

In a strongly-worded statement, representatives of the medical profession in Spain are accusing the government of acting unconstitutionally after a minister questioned the right to refuse to take part in the killing of unborn children.

Spanish Equality Minister Irene Montero has said that “the right of physicians to conscientious objection cannot be above women’s right to decide”.

Abortion is currently legal up to 14 weeks in Spain. In 2019, 99,149 abortions were reported to have taken place in the country.

An extreme pro-abortion agenda

Montero is a member of the Podemos Party, part of a ruling coalition led by the anti-life Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party. Montero proposes to decriminalise abortion entirely and introduce penalties for pro-lifers seeking to help women outside of clinics.

Other plans include the repeal of the three-day waiting period for women considering an abortion, as well as scrapping parental consent for girls aged 16 to 17 wanting an abortion.

“Unacceptable, illegal, and unjust”

The General Council of Official Medical Colleges (CGCOM), affiliated with the Spanish Medical Colleges Organisation (OMC), has slammed Montero’s plan to outlaw conscientious objection to abortion as “unacceptable, illegal, and unjust”.

In a statement, the CGCOM, representing 52 medical colleges, said that the proposal was “particularly unfair” and “unconstitutional”.

The Constitutional Court of Spain currently recognises the right of doctors to conscientious objection in matters relating to life, including abortion and euthanasia – doctors are required to declare in writing that they are conscientious objectors.

“’Equality’ has been hijacked”

Michael Robinson, SPUC Director of Communications, said: 

“Freedom of conscience, especially in matters regarding abortion and euthanasia, is increasingly under threat in Europe.

“Last year, two nurses who were denied employment in Sweden because they refused to perform abortions failed in their legal appeal at the European Court of Human Rights, as reported by SPUC.

“Minster Montero was likely emboldened by this, as well as by a recent European Union resolution declared abortion a human right, called on EU member states to ‘remove all barriers’ to abortion and treat conscientious objection as ‘denial of medical care’.

“But as ‘Equality Minister’, Montero ought to recognise that equality must include freedom of conscience – respecting the right of medical workers who do not wish to participate in the killing of unborn children.

“But the meaning of ‘equality’ has been hijacked by illiberal politicians and anti-life organisations determined to enforce an extreme pro-abortion agenda.

“While campaigning against abortion is as vital as ever, fighting to protect the right to conscientious objection is a battleground that pro-lifers simply cannot afford to give up.

“We must stand up against such persecution.”