Abortion in Spain

The voluntary interruption of pregnancy in Spain or abortion induced in Spain is regulated in Title II of the Organic Law 2/2010 on sexual and reproductive health and voluntary termination of pregnancy. 1 This law legalizes the practice of abortion during the first 14 weeks of pregnancy . The law entered into force on 5 as July as 2010 . 1 The previous regulation – Organic Law 9/1985 2 – decriminalized abortion in several cases. The Popular Party presented in June 2010 an appeal against several precepts of the law before the Constitutional Court , which has not yet pronounced. 3 4 In the electoral program for the general elections held on November 20, 2011, the Popular Party included the amendment of the abortion law. 5 6

Legislation on abortion induced in Spain

See also: Legislation on the practice of abortion in the world

In Spain induced abortion referred to voluntary termination of pregnancy has been a practice that has not always been regulated . When it has been, through criminal codes, it has been considered a penalized practice. The Spanish Penal Code of 1822 in articles 639 and 640 established penalties of imprisonment to varying degrees that could reach 14 years for professionals who provide it and up to 8 years for pregnant women who have aborted. 7

Induced Abortion has been specifically punished during a short period of the Second Spanish Republic (1937-) and since the adoption of Organic Law 9/1985 – law of assumptions – and the last Law 2/2010 – law of deadlines, laws Which to a different degree, have decriminalized the practice of induced abortion.

Second Republic Spanish

On December 25, 1936, in Catalonia , abortion was legalized during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy by decree signed by Josep Tarradellas and published on January 9, 1937 ( Official Gazette of the Generalitat de Catalunya, Num.9 ). 8 9 10 In the area loyal to the Republic during the Spanish Civil War , the cenetista Federica Montseny (from November 1936 to mid-May 1937) in the government presided over by the socialist Francisco Largo Caballero , the practice was decriminalized Of the abortion induced in 1937, but its validity lasted very little, since the pro-Franco side repealed it. 11 12 13

Organic Law 9/1985

In the Organic Law 9/1985, adopted on 5 of July of 1985 serious risk: the induced abortion in three cases decriminalized health physical or psychic of the pregnant woman (supposedly therapeutic), rape ( of course criminology) and malformations or Physical or psychic, in the fetus (eugenics). 2 According to this law, the pregnant woman could interrupt the pregnancy in public or private centers in the first 12 weeks in the criminological case, in the first 22 weeks in the eugenic, and at any time of the pregnancy in the therapeutic case.

In the second and third cases, a medical report was required to certify compliance with the conditions established by law; In cases of rape, the pertinent police report had to be previously filed. In these three cases, abortion practiced by a physician, or under his direction, was not punishable in a health center accredited to make voluntary abortions, whether public or private, with the express consent of the woman. In other cases, the Penal Code provided for a number of prison terms for both the pregnant woman and the doctors practicing abortions not protected by law.

Organic Law 2/2010

The 3 of March of 2010 the enacted Organic Law 2/2010 on sexual and reproductive health and abortion. 1 The aim of this law is to guarantee the fundamental rights in the field of sexual health and reproductive health established by the World Health Organization ( WHO ), to regulate the conditions of voluntary termination of pregnancy and to establish the corresponding obligations of the public authorities . 14 15 16 The law came into force on 5 as July as 2010 .

In Title II, articles 13 and 14, the decriminalization of abortion practice during the first 14 weeks of pregnancy is specified. During this time, the woman will be able to make a free and informed decision about the interruption of her pregnancy. There will be no third party intervention in the decision.

Article 15 states that the period of possibility of voluntary termination of pregnancy increases until week 22 in cases of “serious risks to the life or health of the mother or the fetus”. From the twenty-second week onwards, the pregnancy can only be terminated in two cases: that “abnormalities in the fetus are found incompatible with life” or that “an extremely serious and incurable disease is detected in the fetus at the time of diagnosis and As confirmed by a clinical committee. 1

Articles 13 and 14 of Title II of Law 2/2010

Article 13. Common requirements.

Necessary requirements for voluntary termination of pregnancy:

First.-To be practiced by a medical specialist or under his direction.

Second.-To be carried out in an accredited public or private health center.

Third.-That is done with the express written consent of the pregnant woman or, as the case may be, of the legal representative, in accordance with the provisions of Law 41/2002, Basic Regulatory of Patient Autonomy and Rights and Obligations regarding information and clinical documentation.
Express consent may be waived in the case provided for in Article 9.2.b) of said Law.

Fourth.-In the case of women aged 16 and 17, consent for voluntary termination of pregnancy is exclusively attributed to them in accordance with the general regime applicable to women of legal age.

At least one of the legal representatives, father or mother, persons with parental authority or guardians of the women included in those ages must be informed of the decision of the woman.

He dispensed with this information when reasonably lower claims that this will cause a serious conflict, manifested in certain danger of family violence, threats, coercion, abuse, or a situation of rootlessness or distress occurs.

Article 14. Interruption of pregnancy at the request of the woman .

The pregnancy may be interrupted within the first fourteen weeks of gestation at the request of the pregnant woman, provided that the following requirements are met:

A) That the pregnant woman has been informed of the rights, benefits and public support for maternity, in the terms established in paragraphs 2 and 4 of article 17 of this Law.

B) That a period of at least three days has elapsed, from the information mentioned in the previous paragraph and the accomplishment of the intervention. 1

Process of approval of the law 2/2010

In 2009 , the reform of the 1985 law regulating voluntary termination of pregnancy was carried out in three cases defined by a new law that would allow, in any circumstance, during the first 14 weeks of gestation, and until week 22 , In case there is a serious risk to the life or health of the pregnant woman or risk of serious anomalies for the fetus. In the case of detecting fetal anomalies incompatible with life there is no time limit for abortion. The new law will also allow young women aged 16 and 17 to have an abortion without the authorization of their parents. 17

This reform, supported by the Spanish Socialist Workers Party and endorsed by the Council of State , 18 received criticism of the Popular Party , the Catholic Church and anti – abortion groups. 19 20

The Law 2/2010 on sexual and reproductive health and voluntary termination of pregnancy was finally approved by 184 votes in favor, 158 against and one abstention. The law was supported by the PSOE , party in the Government of Spain chaired by José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero , with the Minister of Equality Bibiana Aido . The parties that supported the Government were the PNV , ERC , IU , ICV , BNG , NaBai and two deputies of CiU .

The Popular Party was the only party that opposed the approval of the new law. Also opposed were some members of other parties like Coalición Canaria , UPN , UPyD and seven deputies of CiU . Outside parliament, civil society organizations also showed their rejection: representatives of the Spanish Episcopal Conference of the Catholic Church , Pro-life Associations and the Institute of Family Policy (IPF). In 2009 a survey of Spanish youth conducted by the Center for Sociological Research indicated that 55% of young people felt that it was only the woman who had to decide on the subject; One in four considered that society should set certain limits; While 15% demonstrated against abortion in all cases.

Project of reform of the law of 2010 by the popular government of Mariano Rajoy

Alberto Ruiz Gallardón , former Minister of Justice of the People’s Government presided over by Mariano Rajoy announced at his first parliamentary appearance in January 2012 , shortly after taking office, his intention to reform the Abortion Law approved by the government socialist of Rodriguez Zapatero ( government Zapatero II ), which was a law of terms as existing in most European countries but was very answered by the Catholic Church and by its own People ‘s Party (especially on the issue of the Minors between the ages of 16 and 18 could have an abortion even if they did not have the consent of their parents), to return to the model of the 1985 law , in which women had to plead reasons to justify their decision. 21 The draft Law on Protection of the Life of the Conceived and the Rights of Pregnant Women, 22 among other things, would also change in this legal reform, such as the transition from the method of time to the assumptions, or the need to report Doctor to be able to interrupt the pregnancy. 23 To protest the reform bill the 1 of February of 2014 was organized in Madrid a mass demonstration was called The Freedom Train . 24

On September 23, 2014, the Minister of Justice Alberto Ruiz Gallardón announces his resignation as Minister after the withdrawal of the draft Abortion Law by the executive of Mariano Rajoy Brey . 25

Number of abortions in Spain

In 2009 the number of abortions was 112,000, about 4000 less than the previous year (115,812); Is the first to fall since 1997. According to Trinidad Jiménez , then Minister of Health and Social Policy of Spain , the decline was due to over-the-counter sale at the pharmacies of the so-called pill the day after it was liberalized at the end of September 2009. 26 27

In Spain the evolution of the number of abortions, according to the statistics of the Ministry of Health , 28 is as follows:

Year Pregnancy
Interruption Notification Centers
Number of IVE
(induced abortions)
Rate per 1,000 women
1986 411 29 0.05 30
1987 16.206 29 1.96 30
1988 26,069 29 3,11 30
1989 30,552 29 3.61 30
1990 37,231 29 4.35 30
1991 41,910 31 4,79
1992 44,962 31 5.10
1993 45.503 31 5,15
1994 47.832 31 5.38
nineteen ninety five 49,367 31 5.53
nineteen ninety six 51.002 31 5.69
1997 49,578 31 5.52
1998 117 53,847 31 6.00
1999 123 58,399 31 6.52
2000 121 63,756 31 7.14
2001 121 69,857 7.66
2002 124 77,125 8,46
2003 128 79,788 8.77
2004 133 84,985 32 8.94
2005 134 91,664 33 9.60
2006 135 101,592 10.62
2007 137 112,138 34 11.49 35
2008 137 115,812 11.78
2009 141 111,482 26 36 11.41
2010 146 113,031 28 37 38 11.71
2011 173 118.359 39 40 12.47
2012 189 112,390 28 12.12
2013 198 108.690 28 11.74
2014 191 94,796 28 10.46
2015 200 94,188 28 10.40

Abortions with medicines and surgical in Spain

The induced abortion or termination of unwanted pregnancy can be done by two methods:

  • Medication or chemical abortion – By drugs or medications such as mifepristone and misoprostol .
  • Surgical abortion – clinic or hospital intervention: aspiration, dilation and curettage , curettage .

In Europe, the use of medical abortion is broad, although its use is unequal across countries ; Thus, in Portugal it accounts for 67% of IVE ( voluntary termination of pregnancy ), in France 49%; In England and Wales 40%, in Scotland and Finland 70%. 41 In Spain only 4%, in Italy less than 4% since marketing began mifepristone in December 2009. 42 41

Debate on abortion

Main article: Debate on abortion

For authors such as Ibanez and Garcia-Velasco, the prohibition and criminalization of induced abortion would not prevent about 100,000 abortions being continued per year – a figure reached in 2006 in Spain. 43 From this point of view, penalization would not solve the problem, since clandestinity would contribute decisively to the death of women who practice abortion in conditions of illegality and legal and health insecurity – in 1976, according to data from Supreme Court, between 200 and 400 women died of clandestine abortions . 44

In addition, as advocates of legal induced abortion argue, the problem of clandestinity primarily affects poor or economically disadvantaged women, since women in better social status would have resorted to what is known as abortion tourism – traveling to other countries to practice there Induced abortion. 12

Considering the point of view of those who present themselves as opposed to induced abortion, the arguments offered for their illegalization are, among others, that it is a criminal and murderous practice. 13

In both cases, practically all the consulted Spaniards have been in favor of society becoming aware of induced abortion, as well as the need for the State to regulate its intervention. 13


  1. a b c d eJump to: Organic Law 2/2010 on sexual and reproductive health and abortion
  2. a bJump to: “Organic Law 9/1985, of July 5, to amend Article 417 bis of the Penal Code” . Official Gazette of the State .
  3. go back up↑ The PP will carry to the Constitutional the future law of terms of the abortion, 12/2/2009 , the Country
  4. go back up↑ The Constitutional admits the resource of the PP against the law of the abortion, 30/6/2010 , the Country
  5. go back up↑ The PP proposes to change the abortion law to return to the morning after pill with prescription, La Vanguardia, 9/29/2011
  6. go back up↑ Popular Party document with the electoral programmatic content – See section The family: first welfare society , p. 5
  7. go back up↑ See articles 639 and 640 of the Criminal Code of 1822
  8. go back up↑ The Second Republic decriminalized abortion with the most advanced law in Europe , Public (Spain) , Patricia Campello , 15.02.2014
  9. go back up↑ Sobreques I Callico, Jaume (13 of February of 1983). “Catalonia had the most progressive abortion law in Europe during the Republic .” The Country .
  10. go back up↑ See the text of the decree Decree of Regulation of the Artificial Interruption of the Pregnancy , in cgtburgos; Also the report of José María Garat , published in Mundo Gráfico on May 12, 1937, downloadable from the National Library of Spain – In Catalonia there is already legal abortion
  11. go back up↑ Ruiz Salguero, Magda Teresa; Cabré Pla, Anna; Castro Martin, Teresa; Solsona Pairó, Montse (2005). «Contraception and abortion at different times in the history of Spain» . Contraception and reproductive health in Spain: chronicle of an (r) evolution . CSIC . P. 50. ISBN  84-00-08321-0 . OCLC  718625758 .
  12. a bJump to: Francisca García Gallego, The practice of abortion in Spain, Page Abierta, 194, July 2008 , Francisca García Gallego is a gynecologist and member of ACAI (Association of Accredited Clinics for the Interruption of Pregnancy).
  13. a b cJump to: Gerardo Hernández Rodríguez (1992). Abortion in Spain: analysis of a socio-political process . Pontifical University of Comillas. Pp. 73 et seq. ISBN  84-87840-15-9 . “As regards the reasons put forward for rejecting abortion … the terms” homicide “,” crime “,” murder “are widely used; Moreover, the reasons given, based on the safeguard of life, are abundant in both sectors. Some in favor of the life of the new self and others thinking about the life of the mother. […] In almost all of them, it is the need for a permanent awareness of the problem by the Administration […]. The II Spanish Republic legalized the abortion being minister of Health Federica Montseny.
  14. go back up↑ ICPD Program of Action see Chapter VII, Reproductive Rights and Reproductive Health
  15. go back up↑ “WHO: Reproductive health” . Consulted on August 19, 2008 .
  16. go back up↑ Definition of Reproductive Health of the WHO, in WHR
  17. go back up↑ Erika Montanes / EP (27 September 2009). “Approved the reform of the law that allows free abortion the first 14 weeks .” ABC . Accessed November 22, 2009 .
  18. go back up↑ P. and S. Rafael Garcia (17 September 2009). “The Council of State endorses the law of abortion .” Public . Archived from the original on November 22, 2015 . Accessed November 22, 2009 .
  19. go back up↑ Jesus Pretty (November 12, 2009). “The Church wants to excommunicate those who vote the Abortion Law .” Public . Archived from the original on November 22, 2015 . Accessed November 22, 2009 .
  20. go back up↑ EFE (27 of October of 2009). “The PP amends the Abortion Law because it” deprotects “the minors and the unborn. RTVE . Archived from the original on November 22, 2015 . Accessed November 22, 2009 .
  21. go back up↑ “Rajoy plays the Counter-Reformation” . The country. February 5, 2012.
  22. go back up↑ “Proposed Draft Organic Law of Abortion (TEXT INTEGRA)” . The Huffington Post. December 20, 2013.
  23. go back up↑ « New Abortion Law What will change? », The Observer of Castilla-La Mancha, 12/21/2013.
  24. go back up↑ ‘ ‘ I decide. The Freedom Train ‘, the collective movie about abortion, opens in 90 cities – 20minutos.es » . 20minutos.es – Latest News . 20 minutes . Accessed January 19, 2016 .
  25. go back up↑ http://politica.elpais.com/politica/2014/09/23/actualidad/1411483106_012590.html
  26. a bJump to: The number of abortions falls in Spain for the first time since its legalization, in 1985, 20 minutes, 13/9/2010
  27. go back up↑ Emily Thigpen, April 3, 2009, specific data on abortions in Spain
  28. a b c d e fJump to: Ministry of Health, Spain, IVE Statistics
  29. a b c d eJump to: Abortion in Spain , El País, December 22, 2013
  30. a b c d eJump to: Calculated from intercensal population estimates for the group of women aged 15-44 years. Population Census and Demographic Census. National Institute of Statistics.
  31. a b c d e f g h i jJump to: In Spain 90,000 abortions are practiced annually under the law, larioja.com, 11/26/2007
  32. go back up↑ In Spain practiced about 85,000 abortions in 2004, Informativos telecinco
  33. go back up↑ Abortions grew by almost 8% in 2005, El País, 12/29/2006
  34. go back up↑ The number of abortions practiced in Spain during 2007 increases, Soitu, 12/02/2008
  35. go back up↑ Half of the abortions in Spain are practiced to immigrant women , 20 minutes, 27/7/2007
  36. go back up↑ The number of abortions falls for the first time in Spain since 1999 , Público , 12/13/2010
  37. go back up↑ The new Law of abortion did not trigger the number of interruptions. In 2010, 113,031 interventions were performed, 1.3% more than in 2009 , 13/12/2011, Público (Spain)
  38. go back up↑ Voluntary Interruption of Pregnancy, Ministry of Health, Social Policy and Equality, – Complete data 2010
  39. go back up↑ Abortion rises 5% in a year of crisis , El País , 12/21/2012
  40. go back up↑ More than 118,000 abortions in Spain in 2011, Cadena Ser, 12/21/2012
  41. to bJump to: Gérvas J. Abortion home. Health Act. 2010/09/13.
  42. go back up↑ Spain, to the European tail in pharmacological abortion, Only 4% of the interruptions are done by this method, while in the EU they approach the half, 11/23/2010
  43. go back up↑ Ibanez and Garcia-Velasco, José Luis (1992). The decriminalization of voluntary abortion in the twentieth century . Madrid: 21st Century of Spain. ISBN  84-323-0740-8 .
  44. go back up↑ Diaz, Paula (31 of October of 2012). “WHO warns Gallardón:” Restricting abortion only causes more maternal mortality ” » . Public Newspaper . Retrieved on January 15, 2015 .