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Court Rules Abortion Draft Bill Unconstitutional

April 11, 1985

MADRID, Spain (AP) _ Spain’s constitutional court today ruled unconstitutional a draft bill passed 17 months ago that would have legalized abortion under limited circumstances.

After the socialist-dominated lower house of Parliament passed the draft bill on Oct. 6, 1983, the conservative opposition Popular Alliance Coalition immediately appealed to the 12-man judicial tribunal.

The court’s finding was announced today by the coalition’s spokesman, Jose Maria Ruiz Gallardon.

The court, set up following the approval of Spain’s 1978 constitution, does not make public its rulings, but is required to inform the appellants and Parliament.

The tribunal declared that the draft bill runs counter to Article 15 of the constitution, which says all Spanish citizens have the right to life and moral integrity, the coalition said.

The bill would have modified an article in Spain’s Penal Code to permit abortions in three instances: when the mother’s life was in danger, when the fetus was malformed and when pregnancy resulted from rape.

The penalty for a person who performs an abortion and for a woman who obtains one is six years in prison.

Government statistics indicate that some 300,000 illegal abortions are performed in Spain each year. Some women travel on special charter flights to London or to Morocco for abortions.

According to the national news agency, EFE, six of the 12 magistrates objected to some portion of the ruling. The tie-breaking vote was cast by the court president, Manuel Garcia Pelayo, whose vote is worth two.

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