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
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .