Spain: parental permission needed for abortion by minors

The Spanish Senate finally adopted on Sept 10, 2015 a law to reform the access to abortion for minors by introducing the necessity for parental permission.

The reform’s objective was to give fathers and mothers “the capacity to advise their daughter and to be present at a difficult moment in her life”, explained Senator Maria Dolores Pan, from the Popular Majority Party in Spain.

In France, parental permission was removed by the law of 2001. Alliance Vita is often called upon by young under-age girls via their ‘hot-line’ listening and accompaniment service, concerning the social consequences that an abortion hidden from the parents can have. To deliberately create such a secret can have a large impact on the relationship between daughter and parents, the latters only being able to witness, without understanding it, the often-traumatic impact of an abortion, for a girl who is confronted with it, all alone and at an early stage of her life. This medical secret puts family doctors and other professionals who treat the young girl in a difficult situation; such as school nurses, teachers, or even the father of the child, and the girls’ parents. All carry the secret of an act which can have serious repercussions in the life of a young girl, without having her parents informed, those who are her legal and natural long-term protectors. We all know how family secrets that persist in the long term can be a source of misunderstanding and moral sufferings which impact future generations.

Although minors today have the right to have abortions anonymously and without paying, they cannot continue their pregnancy without parental knowledge. This imbalance is accentuated by another imbalance in the way minors are informed and accompanied on these issues. Thus, public information structures for youth, especially those sponsored by Family Planning groups, do not propose any accompaniment, counsel, listening service, or orientation for minors to help them in the follow-up of their pregnancy, and yet this is needed for them in order to make a free choice. Since it is indispensable to prevent traumatisms linked to abortions having been submitted to under pressure, or constraints, the Family Planning centers have developed protocols for abortion, but not in the direction of accompanying a pregnancy. This can already give a certain orientation to the decision-making process of the youth who consult them. This imbalance leads certain minors to abort under psychological constraints.

A single office would also be necessary to limit the number of interlocutors, in view of the feelings and the sensitivity of the youth. In such situations, a respectful and caring accompaniment is indispensable. Yet, once over the shock of the announced pregnancy, and for some people the anger or panic, parents of pregnant minors are generally in the best place to express concern and understanding for their daughter. Nonetheless, these latter need specific protection to avoid being forced to have an abortion. Alliance Vita has specifically asked at several intervals these past years, to add to Family Planning Centers, the mission of accompaniment, listening, orientation and follow-up of minors who wish to continue their pregnancy. Abortions by minors, which concerns more than 10 000 youth every year, remains a serious question for our society.

See the file: Avoiding abortion for minors: Analysis and perspectives

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