Bishop José Ignacio Munilla of Orihuela-Alicante, Spain, has analyzed in depth the recent decision of the country’s Constitutional Court to uphold abortion and described it as the right to dispose of human life up to the first 14 weeks of gestation.
Newsroom (14/02/2023 11:00 AM, Gaudium Press) — For the prelate, the decision taken on Feb. 9 by the Constitutional Court (TC) on the abortion law in force in Spain is summed up simply: “There are human beings who do not have human rights. It’s the obvious conclusion.”
According to Bishop Munilla, this means that the principle of nondiscrimination that is present in public discourse and that defends human dignity regardless of origin, race, sex, or other characteristics or circumstances now has an exception: “depending on age.”
The bishop stressed that following the decision of the Constitutional Court, a human being “if he is less than 14 weeks old, he does not have the right to life. And also, since he has Down syndrome, he does not have the human right to life if he has less than 22 weeks” of prenatal life.
Regarding the abortion of people with Down syndrome, the bishop stressed that “we are facing a true massacre, a holocaust, and we cannot remain silent.”
Munilla said on his “Sixth Continent” program on Radio María Spain on Feb. 10 that “yesterday was a very sad day, very hard,” which led him to share a viral video starring Ana, a girl with Down syndrome.
“Look at Ana and tell her that she had no right to be among us. Tell her that Begoña [her mother] had the right to say ‘I’ll get rid of her,’” Munilla challenged.
The bishop reminded the members of the TC who voted in favour of abortion “whom God has placed, whom providence has put in a place of such responsibility, that the right to life is pre-constitutional. It doesn’t come from the Constitution, it’s not granted by you. It is pre-democratic, inherent. It doesn’t come from the ballot box. It doesn’t come from a Constitutional Court.”
The bishop of Orihuela-Alicante proclaimed that the right to life “comes from the dignity of a person who is the image and likeness of God, you don’t grant it.”
Munilla told the justices of the Constitutional Court: “It will be good for you to remember today that legality is not above morality, that legality is not the foundation of morality. Rather, it is legality that should be sustained by morality.”
The court’s decision was surrounded by controversy because at least four out of 11 of the justices possibly should have recused themselves because of previous positions they held in government. If these judges had done so, the court would have lacked the quorum to address the appeal.
In 2010 when the Law on Sexual and Reproductive Health and the Voluntary Interruption of Pregnancy was passed, more than 70 legislators of the People’s Party filed an appeal challenging the law’s constitutionality. The Constitutional Court admitted the appeal for consideration on a priority basis but never issued a ruling until now, almost 13 years later, on Feb. 9.
In the interim, there were six different presidents of the Constitutional Court. Meanwhile, for almost 13 years the law permitting abortion up to 14 weeks has been in force pending the appeal.
In December 2022, Spain’s lower house passed a bill further liberalizing the 2010 law on abortion. The Senate also approved it but some amendments have been introduced so it now goes back to the Congress of Deputies (lower house).
- Raju Hasmukh with files from CNA