Spain’s Constitutional Court on Wednesday agreed to study the constitutionality of a new abortion law allowing the procedure without restrictions up to 14 weeks’ gestation, the AP/Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. The new law, which takes effect July 5, also legalizes abortion for 16- and 17-year-olds with parental notification. The Socialist government approved the law in February. The changes would bring Spain — a predominantly Catholic country — more in line with other, secular European nations’ abortion policies. The country’s current abortion law permits the procedure up to 12 weeks’ gestation in cases of rape and up to 22 weeks if there is a fetal malformation.
In theory, women who violate the current law can be jailed, a consequence that would be eliminated in the new law. The law also declares that abortion is a woman’s right.
The conservative Popular Party filed suit in June, arguing that the measure is unconstitutional. The party cited a 1985 Constitutional Court ruling that said a woman’s right to an abortion could not supersede the rights of a fetus, except in cases of rape, incest or to save the woman’s life. Populist Party member Sandra Moneo said that allowing unrestricted access to abortion “violates the balance between the rights” of the woman and the rights of the fetus.
The party also argued that allowing minors to have abortions without parental permission violates parents’ rights. The Constitutional Court — Spain’s highest court — gave the government and Parliament three days to present arguments as to whether the court should issue a temporary injunction until it reaches a final decision.