A Responsible Abortion: Testimony of Alba

14 April 2015

A Responsible Abortion: Testimony of Alba
An ACAI Video


The strong religious beliefs of her parents and the lack of communication between them prevented Alba from telling them about her pregnancy and her decision to terminate it. Alba is 17 years old and has had an abortion without her their knowledge.

Like her, between 400 and 500 adolescents have abortions each year in Spain without the knowledge of their parents or guardians. Adoption of the law reform tabled by the Popular Party (PP) would remove the exception in the current abortion law that allows adolescents in difficult situations or at social risk like Alba to have an abortion without knowledge of their parents or guardians. If it is passed, it will lead to these young women being forced to seek an unsafe or clandestine abortion.

These young women are the exception, but the PP wants to make them adhere to the norm. Studies by ACAI show that of the total numbers of women having abortions, 16- and 17-year-olds are only 3.6% of the total, and only 12.38% are unable to informe their parents/guardians. That means they are 0.44% of the total abortions annually (108,690), or between 400 and 500 a year.

Almost 90% of this age group inform and are accompanied by a parent/guardian to the clinic. Thus, it can be said that if the PP wants to protect minors who are able to communicate their situation to their parents, they are already protected. What the PP would be doing is to put at risk and remove the protection of the small number who cannot tell their parents, who the law currently protects.

The main reasons why 16- and 17-year-olds do not tell their parents the situation are: helpless family, dysfunctional family, parents in prison, risk of ill-treatment, living in the country without their parents, parental illness, parents opposed to induced abortion, or parents who disown and refuse to accompany their own child.

ACAI calls on the PP to recognize motherhood as as a right, but freely chosen by women, and therefore to make it the State’s obligation to safeguard and protect the rights of the woman whether she continues or terminates the pregnancy. This is very different from making concessions to the more conservative sectors of the society who seek to eliminate the provision of abortion, even though the law protects women’s health, spelled out in Article 18 of the Act, which recognizes the «right to assistance for the practice of pregnancy termination». ACAI thinks this would be a serious setback for the health and rights of women, who would be again forced to pay for the provision of a health service that should be free and guaranteed by the National Health Service.

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