By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
Spanish Archbishop Francisco Gil Hellin of Burgos is instructing his flock that because no one has the right to kill an innocent human being, there is no obligation to obey the country’s new abortion law.
The Catholic News Agency is reporting that Archbishop Hellin made the statement in regard to a new abortion law just passed in Spain that will allow abortions without restriction in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy and give 16 and 17 year-old girls the right to have an abortion without their parent’s permission. Under the previous law, which dated to 1985, women could only have an abortion up to the 12th week in case of rape and the 22nd week if the baby was malformed.
“Let’s be clear: this law is not a law, although it is presented as such by some politicians and lawmakers,” the Archbishop said in a letter. “It is no law because nobody has the right to take the life of an innocent human being. For this reason it is not obligatory. Moreover, it demands direct opposition without distinction.”
Abortion can never be a right because it constitutes the killing “of a person who is not guilty,” the Archbishop continued. “The right of a person to exist who has already been conceived, although not yet born, is not a belief stemming from any religion. One does not need to be a believer to hold that an innocent person has the right to be defended and respected in his or her integrity. Common sense dictates that one cannot take a human life in order to solve another problem or to ‘get money or votes’,” he said.
Opponents of the new law are using a similar argument to mount a court challenge in the country’s Constitutional Court. A 1985 ruling from the same court found that a woman’s rights could not automatically take precedence over those of an unborn child, and could do so only in cases of rape, fetal malformation, or when the mother’s health is in jeopardy. The Court is currently considering the appeal but has decided not to suspend enactment of the law until a final ruling is made.
The archbishop went on to say it is a “fallacy to assert that this law was passed by a majority in Parliament and that it represents the will of the majority of citizens, or if the Constitutional Court upholds it, that opposing it would be disobedient and would warrant sanction.”
“The fallacy consists in giving politicians, judges or citizens a right they do not have. And nobody has the right to legislate the killing of an innocent person,” Archbishop Gil Hellin said.
He went on to urge Spaniards to help mothers who are in difficult situations and to support motherhood “with all the means at our disposal” in order to “halt this plague of abortion that, in Spain alone has already destroyed more people than all those who live in the cities of Zaragoza, Cordoba and Burgos.”
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