The Spanish Senate on Wednesday passed a bill that would ease Spain's strict restrictions on legal abortion and instead allow the procedure up to 14 weeks' gestation without restrictions and up to 22 weeks' gestation in limited cases, the AP/Yahoo News reports.Spanish King Juan Carlos de Borbon is required to sign the law within 15 days. The first question that comes to mind is whether he will face the same threat of excommunication that the Catholic politicians voting for the bill faced. The answer? No:
Juan Carlos of Spain is expected by many to sign. Many, including some of Spain’s Catholic bishops, citing articles 62 and 91 of the Spanish Constitution, have said that Juan Carlos has little leeway, and simply must endorse any legislation that comes his way as his position is largely ceremonial.And while I could probably devout several posts to my personal opinion on that, I'll simply say that I tend to agree with Human Life League and several theologians who have discussed the issue:
Human Life International is arguing, however that this position is erroneous. In exercising his office, King Carlos does not lose the rights and duties inherent to the human person, nor those inherent in being a Catholic, said Euteneuer, adding that the king has the right and the duty to act in conformity to his conscience as a Catholic.And it seems that the King would have the Spanish people on his side. Polls show that the majority are against this bill (yet another country whose legislators can't seem to remember who elected them or who they are responsible to).
“All the Catholic Kings of Spain, especially Ferdinand and Isabella, would be horrified at the possibility of signing such murderous legislation and will stand in fierce judgment of a king who abdicates his moral responsibility to his people in such an act,” said Rev. Euteneuer.
King Juan Carlos isn't the first member of a royal family to face this dilemma. Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg was stripped of his powers last year for taking a stand for life and refusing to sign a bill legalizing Euthanasia and King Baudoin of Belgium stepped down when abortion was legalized in 1990 in his country (from lifesitnews.com).
The King has reached a pivotal moment in his life and in the history of his country. Will he do what is right and defend the unborn as a Catholic monarch should or will he do what may be required to save his crown? Bills that he has signed in the past have shown a willingness to "sanction anti-life and anti-family legislation." But every moment is a chance to start anew and we must pray that this time King Juan Carlos will make the right decision and stand up for the innocent and unprotected.
And if he does the world has already been shown that he will have his wife, Queen Doña Sofia Margarita Victoria Frederica's support. In the book The Queen Up Close she says:
"It is necessary to respect every living child, every child that has begun to live. And to be in favor of life is not backward, nor is it something confined to Christianity. It is to follow the natural law."Let us pray that the King follows his faith in protecting life from conception to death:
Oh Virgin Mother, pray for King Juan Carlos that he might be a valiant protector of the unborn and may use this opportunity to speak out against the evil of abortions.
Saint Theresa of Avila, Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Saint Francis Xavier, along with all the Saints and Angels in heaven pray that Spain will yet be rescued from this evil and that the unborn will be protected.
Photo of King Juan Carlos and Quenn Sofia from The Resident.
The painting is Bourguereau's L'Innocence.