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The Constitutional Court endorses the law that criminalizes harassment in abortion clinics

Considers that it does not violate the rights of ideological, religious or expression freedom, nor those of assembly or equality.

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The Constitutional Court endorses the law that criminalizes harassment in abortion clinics

Considers that it does not violate the rights of ideological, religious or expression freedom, nor those of assembly or equality

The Constitutional Court (TC) has agreed to endorse the law approved in 2022 that penalizes harassment of women who go to clinics for voluntary termination of pregnancy with sentences of up to one year in prison, understanding that it does not violate the rights of ideological freedom. , religious or expression, nor those of assembly and demonstration or equality.

As reported by the court of guarantees, the majority of the Plenary has supported the draft of the sentence drafted by the progressive wing magistrate María Luisa Balaguer, who defends that the norm is constitutional. The judges of the conservative wing Ricardo Enríquez, Enrique Arnaldo, Concepción Espejel and César Tolosa have announced a dissenting vote.

By adopting this decision, the progressive majority of the court has rejected the appeal presented by the Vox deputies against the single article of Organic Law 4/2022, of April 12, which modifies Organic Law 10/1995, of November 23, of the Penal Code, to penalize harassment of women who go to clinics for voluntary termination of pregnancy.

It was in February 2022 when Congress approved - with votes against PP and Vox - the organic law that punishes "annoying, offensive, intimidating or coercive acts" with prison sentences of three months to one year. "that "undermine the freedom of women.

The party led by Santiago Abascal challenged the rule after having tried to stop it in parliament and after presenting - without success - amendments so that harassment of women who go to specialized abortion clinics is not punishable by prison sentences.

Now, the Constitutional Court has endorsed the law by considering that "none of the terms used by the legislator in the drafting" of the contested article is "vague" or "unforeseeable" for the recipients of the criminal law.

On this point, the magistrates emphasize that the reference to the performance of annoying and offensive acts cannot be considered lacking the necessary precision required by the principle of exhaustiveness, nor does it impose an exclusively subjective interpretation that makes an objective specification of the conduct to be sanctioned impossible. .

According to the court, what is important is not the execution, among others, of annoying or offensive acts, but rather the action of harassment, which appears in different provisions of the Penal Code and has been "profusely developed by jurisprudence."

However, the TC emphasizes that the law aims to protect sufficient constitutional coverage of the right to abortion and denies that it produces, due to its severity, an "unnecessary or disproportionate sacrifice" of the right to freedom of expression or the right to demonstrate, the exercise of which, Indeed, it is affected by the appealed rule.

Regarding Vox's argument that the law violates the right to privacy of women harassed in abortion clinics by prosecuting the crime of harassment, the court maintains that this sacrifice is justified by the public interest of investigating the crime.