News from Europe

New Spanish law to publicly publish list of medical staff opposing abortion

The Spanish Ministry of Equality is planning to create a registry of medical doctors, nurses, and staff who object abortion on the grounds of conscientious objection. The intended registry is part of a reform of the abortion law in Spain, passed in 2010.


The argument for the proposal is to be able to guarantee the “right to terminate pregnancies” in public hospitals, as in many hospitals abortions are not performed, given the conscientious objections of the staff. Many bishops and experts are strongly criticizing this registry, as such a list can cause discrimination and harm freedom of expression, as well as freedom of conscience.

Although abortion up to the 14th week is already legal in Spain, almost 86% of them are performed in private clinics that have agreements with the public health system, given the high number of conscientious objectors in public hospitals. That is why the government wants to make access to abortion even easier, to guarantee the “right to terminate pregnancies in public hospitals”.

Although the law includes conscientious objection as an individual right, this right must be respected “without undermining access and quality of care”, which means without obstructing the practice of abortion. This proposal has been inspired by a similar registry already used in the case of conscientious objection to euthanasia.


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