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Religion et questions éthiques

One of the most controversial topics in Spain concerning religion and ethical matters has been around the involvement of Catholic institutions and actors in debates surrounding abortion.

From 1985, abortion was decriminalized in Spain in three specific circumstances : (1) instances of violation, (2) risk to the physical or mental health of the mother and (3) foetal deformity Abortion was more openly permitted in Spain in 2010 when the Law of Sexual and Reproductive Health was approved. Articles 13 and 14 permits abortion before 14 weeks, granting women the autonomy to make informed decisions and access necessary services. During this period, women can freely decide and get all the information and services they require. In 2023, amendments were made to this law, notably allowing girls over 16 years old to terminate pregnancies without parental authorization.

Despite progress in women’s rights, religious groups opposed to abortion have vehemently rejected these legal changes. Numerous demonstrations have occurred outside clinics, where anti-abortion activists confront women with graphic images, foetal models, and anti-abortion messages, seeking to dissuade them from proceeding with their decision. A report from 2018 by a clinic association revealed that 89% of women seeking services experienced harassment, with 69% feeling threatened.

In response to such harassment, a new law was enacted in 2022. This legislation stipulates penalties, including imprisonment ranging from 3 months to 1 year or community service, for individuals who obstruct women’s access to abortion or harass them in front of the clinics. The same penalty applies also to those who harass healthcare professionals employed at these clinics.

Another controversial and recent topic in Spain is the one related to Euthanasia. Euthanasia was rendered legal in December 2020 (Ley Orgánica de regulación de la eutanasia, law authorising euthanasia). According to the law, to receive assistance for dying, the person needs to meet all the following requirements :
 To have Spanish nationality or legal residence in Spain or a certificate of registration that proves a period of stay in Spanish territory of more than twelve months, to be of legal age, and to be mentally capable and conscious at the time of the request.
 To have in writing the information available about their medical process, the different alternatives and courses of action.
 To have made two requests voluntarily, either in writing or by another means that can serve as a proof, and that do not result from any external pressure.
 To suffer from a serious and incurable illness or a severe, chronic, and debilitating condition.
 To provide prior informed consent to receive assistance for dying. This consent will be incorporated into the patient’s medical record.
As with the abortion debate, conservative and religious groups have organized pro-life demonstrations.

For further information : Martín, Joseba García, and Ignacia Perugorría. "El campo antiderechos español frente a la Ley de Eutanasia. Repertorio movilizacional y trabajo identitario (2018-21)." Revista Internacional de Sociología 81.4 (2023) : e238-e238.

D 21 février 2024    ARosa Martínez-Cuadros

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