Errenteria: feminism and the right to abortion

Last February, the Spanish Congress approved a reform of the Abortion Act. The new, long-awaited legislation guarantees the right to abortion in public hospitals, sets the minimum age of 16 years to have an abortion without the permission of parents or guardians, regulates conscientious objection and eliminates the cooling-off period and obligation to present information as to the assistance available if deciding to continue with the pregnancy.

This regulation has successfully removed a number of the obstacles which still stood in the way of women's full entitlement to terminate a pregnancy. The new Act guarantees women safe and accessible abortions, and is among the most advanced in Europe and in the world. Within this context, it should properly be emphasised that this right, as with most personal rights, has been won through a historic process of struggle and commitment, in which many women risked their freedom and placed their lives in danger.

One example of the many struggles undertaken is that of a group of feminist women belonging to the Errenteriako Emakumeen Taldea (Errenteria Women's Group), who in the 1970s decided to set up a clandestine group to help other women access abortion. The direct action by these women, and their transformative feminist perspective, laid the groundwork. Without them, the current reform would not have been possible.

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