Whose life matters? Spain’s abortion bill

Spain is about to pass a bill called “The Organic law for the protection of the life of the conceived and the rights of the pregnant woman” into the parliament for debate. The bill suggests restricting access to abortion only in rape cases or if the woman’s health is at risk. The bill not only violates human rights, but will also put a number of women into a severe risk. Unsafe abortion is often fatal.

Studies have shown that restrictive abortion laws do not reduce the number of abortions. In a paper published in The Lancet in 2012, Gilda Sedgh and colleagues showed that abortion rate was lower in those regions of the world, where legislation was liberal.

In many countries, where access to safe abortion is restricted, women use life threatening methods to terminate unwanted pregnancies. These range from black market drugs to inserting unhygienic objects, such as sticks, to vagina in order to induce the abortion. Around 13% of maternal deaths are due to unsafe abortion, resulting in the death of almost 50,000 women every year. In developing countries, where access to abortion is often restricted by legislation, lack of appropriate health care facilities, or both, around five million women per year are treated due to complications due to unsafe abortion.

Adverse health consequences of unsafe abortion can easily be prevented by providing easy access to contraceptives and safe abortion services.

Please sign Amnesty’s petition against Spain’s abortion bill. Finns can do it here, others please check your local Amnesty International, or write directly to Spanish Politicians (see instructions here) before 24 July 2014.

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