Spanish minister assures that trans and abortion law will not restrict freedom of conscience
Félix Bolaños, the Minister of the Presidency in Spain assured that the new transgender law and the changed abortion legislation will not violate religious freedom or interfere with the freedom of conscience. He did so after he received a critical report from the Federation of Evangelical Religious Entities of Spain (FEREDE), which fears that freedoms will be restricted.
The Minister of the Presidency writes in a letter that the government considers the "defence of fundamental rights and freedoms contemplated in the constitution and of religious freedom in particular." That is reported by Protestante Digital. The Minister furthermore promises to "create conditions that allow an effective exercise of the right in accordance with constitutional principles and the organic development of religious freedom."
Although the Minister says to understand the concerns of the FEREDE, he emphasises that no law should violate other fundamental freedoms and that it is "not in the will of the legislator to do so in the mentioned legislations and those that are still in the parliamentary processing phase."
If any conflict arises in the area of religious or conscientious freedom, the constitutional and legal system should have sufficient resources to resolve them as corresponds to the State of Law, the Minister writes.
Report with worries
Earlier, FEREDE sent a letter to the Minister of the Presidency. That was reported by Actualidad Evangelica. In it, the organisation expressed its concerns about two laws that are in the drafting process: the Law on sexual and reproductive health and the voluntary interruption of pregnancy, and the Bill for the absolute and effective equality of trans people and the guarantee of the rights of LGBT people.
To the letter, FEREDE attached a report which outlined the most essential worries about the new legislation. "We are concerned about a trend that we see in some representatives and political leaders, the media, et cetera, that minimise and devalue the right to religious freedom, ignoring the special protection conferred by our Constitution", the brief writers stated.
They requested the Minister to reject the regulations or to modify them so that they are "respectful of all constitutional rights, including the right, value and fundamental principle of religious freedom."
FEREDE is not satisfied with the answer of the Minister. According to the association, the government does not directly address particular concerns they had pointed out in their previous letter.
The association, for example, addressed the issue of discrimination against medical personnel who conscientiously refuse to perform an abortion. Furthermore, FEREDE opposed eliminating parental consent for abortion for girls under 16. "It seems serious that the minor's choice to abort is always considered the best and most appropriate solution."
Regarding the new trans legislation in the making, FEREDE criticised that the law leaves a serious possibility of minors "making a registry rectification of their sex without the consent of their parents." Also, the proposed ban on conversion therapies might create insecurities for churches that want to help people who struggle with their sexual orientation. "We are concerned that any intervention in this area could be punishable."
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