The Constitutional tries to shield itself from the challenges of the right regarding Zapatero’s abortion law

This Tuesday, almost 13 years later, the Constitutional Court (TC) addresses the appeal of unconstitutionality on the current abortion law, presented by the PP in 2010 for understanding that the voluntary interruption of pregnancy within the first 14 weeks of gestation is outside the constitutional framework that protects the right to life.

The first question that the court will address with its brand new progressive majority is whether or not it admits the challenges made by various PP deputies, among them, the former Minister of Defense Federico Trillo, against one of the star laws of the Government of Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, the law of terms, which replaced the law of assumptions of 1985, of the executive of Philip Gonzalez.

Five of those 71 deputies who 13 years ago filed the unconstitutionality appeal today want them to withdraw from their deliberation Candid Count-Pumpidofor being state attorney general when the standard was approved; Juan Carlos Campo, who was then Secretary of State for Justice; Immaculate Montalban, for having been a member of the CGPJ at that time and, therefore, having participated in the opinion of the Council on the draft law; and for the same reason they challenged Concepción Espejel.

However, Espejel has abstained, that is, he has voluntarily withdrawn from the aforementioned deliberation. This Tuesday the plenary session of the TC will study whether his abstention is justified.

Pressure from the far right

The circumstance occurs that if the three challenges plus the abstention go ahead, the Constitutional Court would not have quorum enough, that is, the plenary could not be constituted, since the law says that there must be a minimum of eight magistrates who make up the plenary. If successful, the court would be left with seven members since at the moment there are 11 and not 12 magistrates that compose it.

TC sources tell this newspaper that the president will invoke the lack of a quorum to reject the challenges, but not only that: he will question whether five former PP deputies, out of a total of 71 who filed the appeal, are entitled to challenge.

In this sense, the ultra-Catholic foundation Christian Lawyers has already announced that this Tuesday he will go to the headquarters of the European Comission in Madrid to present a complaint against the president of the Constitutional Court and the magistrates Juan Carlos Campo and Inmaculada Montalbán, considering that they should abstain from deliberation on the appeal against the abortion law.

Once the issue of the challenges has been resolved, it is expected that the TC will vote on the paper by the conservative Enrique Arnaldo on Zapatero’s abortion law in Wednesday’s session. We already advanced in Public that the rapporteur proposes a sentence that endorses the law of terms except in relation to the information that women who wish to abort now receive, which is through a sealed envelope that contains information on maternity aid and risks of the intervention . He only receives verbal information when he expressly requests it.

“Personalized” information versus the sealed envelope

The speaker says that informed consent can only be understood as that which is based on “verbal”, “personalized” and “clear” information to the woman who is considering an abortion and proposes to annul as unconstitutional article 17 that includes the current envelope procedure closed. He also stresses as essential the period of reflection that should be imposed, as is already done in the current law of 2010, to women who want to abort.

TC sources indicate to this newspaper that the progressive and majority bloc is not going to vote in favor of this objection proposed by Arnaldo. And even more so when the next law on abortion, which is almost about to be approved, even dispenses with the three days of reflection that the current norm imposes as a prior period for women before terminating their pregnancy.

If Enrique Arnaldo’s presentation is not approved, he has the option of withdrawing and having a progressive magistrate draft a new draft that is close to the majority’s sensibility.

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