Vatican City: A top Vatican prelate on Wednesday attacked Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero over a new law legalising abortion in his country.
Monsignor Ignacio Carrasco de Paula described the law was "senseless, absolutely senseless, and corresponds to Zapatero`s mindset”, in an interview with the religious monthly Il Consulente Re.
Zapatero "promotes everything that is presented to him as a right, but he is unable to understand what a right is," said Carrasco de Paula.
De Paula, a Spaniard, took over as the head of the Pontifical Academy for Life, which promotes Catholic teaching on the sanctity of life, a month ago.
The law passed by the socialist government allows abortion on demand up to the 14th week of pregnancy and up to the 22nd week if there is a risk to the mother`s health or if the foetus has serious "anomalies".
It took effect on July 05.
"The new law deems abortion a right: if that is the case, the woman can decide to do what she wants without consulting or explaining her choice to anyone," Carrasco de Paula told the online version of the monthly.
Under the law, the minimum age for a legal abortion is 16, and minors aged 16 or 17 must inform their families of the decision, except if they face "a clear risk of family violence, threats, pressure or mistreatment”.
Spain decriminalised abortion in 1985, a decade after the death of right-wing dictator Francisco Franco.
But that only covered cases of rape, foetal malformation and when a pregnant woman`s mental or physical health was deemed to be at risk.
Last year, around 115,000 abortions were carried out in Spain, according to the Health Ministry.