The Spanish government is about to amend its abortion law, falling into line with its European neighbours, though local demonstrators are protesting the new law as unconstitutional.
The Socialist government’s new abortion reforms — which notably allow all women to end their pregnancies up until 14 weeks — take effect on Monday.
It’s still unclear how this will affect abortion rates in the country.
Last year around 115,000 abortions were carried out in Spain, according to the health ministry.
The vast majority took place in private clinics and were justified on the grounds that the pregnancy posed a “psychological risk” for the health of the woman.
Currently, the law allows for abortion if the woman’s health is ‘at risk’. Which begs the question, what is good health and how do we measure the risk to it? How individual states answer this question constitutes the ‘grey zone’ of abortion law, in between legal upon request and illegal without exception. So what is good health?
The most famous modern definition of health was created during a Preamble to the Constitution of the World Health Organization as adopted by the International Health Conference, New York, 19-22 June, 1946; signed on 22 July 1946 by the representatives of 61 States (Official Records of the World Health Organization, no. 2, p. 100) and entered into force on 7 April 1948.
“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
The Definition has not been amended since 1948.
By this definition, the WHO model of health allows for the individual to define what health and well-being are, rather than offering a concrete and universal definition. So what shapes our individual visions of health?
What is MasterCard selling in their “priceless” advertising campaign? They are selling meaning and telling us that for 9.7% (for you), or 19.7% (for me), we can have it. MasterCard is selling us moments of meaning, right relations with our spouse and children, meaningful encounters with art and sport, security in old age; MasterCard is selling us wellbeing. Priceless? No, in fact these “priceless” moments can be yours for only 19.7% apr.
Again, take anti-cholesterol medication Lipitor, it advertises itself not as anti-cholesterol medication but as a gateway to fishing with our grandchildren (which is depicted in its advertising), it is selling us not an object such as a pill but, rather, it is selling us familial relations, things of “real” value, it is selling us meaning.
The most significant point, however, is not simply that such companies are trying to sell us meaning. They are also telling us what “meaning” actually is.
Abortion is packaged in such a way when we begin to discuss risk, that it is a relief of pain, stress, hardship, unease. That it is a potential gateway to well-being, but by whose definition?by