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Spain doctor ordered to compensate woman for unsuccessful abortion

A Spanish doctor has been ordered to pay child support for a baby who survived a botched abortion [JURIST backgrounder], a court in Palma de Mallorca announced on Wednesday. In April 2010 the mother went to a clinic in Palma de Mallorca and underwent an abortion procedure. Two weeks later the same physician performed a review and said that everything had gone well. The woman returned to the clinic three months later thinking she was pregnant again, but physicians realized the initial procedure had failed and that she was then seven-months pregnant. By the time it was realized the procedure had failed, the mother was beyond the 22-week window permitted by Spanish law for an abortion. Judge Francisco Perez found that the ultrascan review was conducted negligently and ordered [NY Daily News report] the doctor and the clinic to pay USD $1,300 a month to the child until his 26th birthday and an additional $189,000 for "moral damages" suffered by the 24-year-old mother in this unique case.

In 2010 Spain amended its abortion laws [JURIST report] for the first time since 1985. Under the new law, abortions performed in the first 14 weeks of gestation are declared a right and abortions are allowed until 22 weeks if the mother's life is in danger. The previous law had allowed abortions only in the case of rape, up to 12 weeks, severe fetal malformation, up to 22 weeks, or if the woman's physical or mental health was in danger. The changes were proposed [JURIST report] in 2009 by a panel of legal and medical experts, eliciting widespread protests [JURIST report] throughout Spain. The panel was formed [JURIST report] in September 2008 at the request of then-prime minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero as part of a series of social reforms that have included same-sex marriage [JURIST report] and streamlined divorce proceedings.

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