Pregnant by your lover? Located in Spain? Cry rape and you, too, can get an abortion. Unless of course, the police discover you are lying.
A Spanish woman has been arrested after allegedly making a false claim that she was raped in order to get an abortion.
By Fiona Govan in Madrid Published: 2:29PM BST 19 Aug 2009
The 27-year-old woman, who lives in Malaga, used the excuse to get a termination when she became pregnant after having an extramarital affair, police said.
The woman, who is from Latin America and has not been named, told police that she had been followed by a masked man who forced her into the back of his car, drove her to scrubland, and raped her at knife point.
But police became suspicious after inconsistencies in her story and because she failed to report the crime until two months after the supposed attack. She then took her police report to a medical centre and asked for an abortion.
Police spend three weeks investigating her claim before they accused the woman of inventing the story to prevent her husband discovering that she had become pregnant from her lover.
She is facing between six months and a year for requesting an abortion on false grounds and six to 12 months for falsifying a crime.
The case highlights the need to reform Spain's abortion laws, which are among the most restrictive in Europe, a move undertaken by the socialist government of Jose Luis Rodriquez Zapatero.
Under Spain's current law abortions are only offered under restricted circumstances and rarely in a public hospital. Terminations are only allowed until the 12th week of pregnancy in cases of rape or until the 22nd week in cases of severe foetal malformation.
But a new proposal, to be ratified by Parliament later this year, will remove abortion from the penal code and allow women to seek a termination within the first 14 weeks of pregnancy without having to give a reason.
The bill is the latest in a series of social reforms brought in since Zapatero became prime minister in March 2004 that have put the Socialist government on a collision course with Spain's Catholic Church.