Spain's Senate gave final approval on Wednesday to a bill that liberalizes the countries abortion laws. The new law allows abortion up to 14 weeks, which means that Spanish women will no longer risk imprisonment should they choose abortion. It also gives 16 and 17-year-olds the right to have an abortion without parental consent. The bill's passage enraged the Catholic Church and many conservatives, reported the Associated Press.
Carmen Monton, the Spanish Socialist Party's spokeswoman on women's issues, told the Associated Press in December 2009, "The important thing is that the consent comes from women, regardless of age...The parents will be informed and there will be exceptions."
The new law also permits abortion within 22 weeks of pregnancy, pending the recommendation of two physicians that the mother's health is at risk, or if the fetus is malformed. Under previous abortion laws, women could only abort within 12 weeks in the case of rape, or in the first 22 weeks if the mother's life was at risk. Those who violated these restrictions faced possible imprisonment.
The reform of abortion laws is part of the social change program undertaken by Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, whose Socialist government has removed religion from the public education curriculum, reformed divorce laws, and legalized gay marriage since assuming power in 2004. By enacting changes to their abortion laws, Spain's policies come in line with several neighboring European countries, including Germany, Britain and France.
Media Resources: Associated Press 2/24/2010; Feminist Daily Newswire 12/15/2009
12/11/2013 Human Rights Day Celebrated Around The World - Yesterday marked International Human Rights Day, a day to celebrate human rights advances and to assess the challenges that lie ahead in protecting them.
"The fundamentals for protecting and promoting human rights are largely in place: these include a strong and growing body of international human rights law and standards, as well as institutions to interpret the laws, monitor compliance and apply them to new and emerging human rights issues," said United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay in a statement. . . .
12/11/2013 UConn Under Federal Investigation For Mishandling Sexual Assault Cases - The US Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) informed the University of Connecticut on Monday that it will investigate the school for allegedly mishandling sexual assault cases and violating Title IX, the federal law that requires all recipients of federal financial assistance for education programs and activities to prohibit sex discrimination and sexual harassment [PDF].
The investigation was sparked after seven women filed a formal complaint in October alleging that UConn had failed to protect them from sexual assault and exposed them to a sexually hostile environment.One woman says her attacker was expelled from campus but later readmitted without her knowledge. . . .
12/11/2013 Massachusetts Democrat Katherine Clark Wins Congressional Seat - Democrat Katherine Clark will become the fifth woman to represent Massachusetts in the US House Tuesday, after easily defeating three opponents in a special election.
"Six years ago, there wasn't a single woman representing Massachusetts in Congress," said Niki Tsongas, the only other woman representing Massachusetts in the House. . . .