The year 1979 was crucial for the right to abortion with the Bilbao trial (Spanish: Juicio de Bilbao). Ten women and one man were prosecuted for abortion. The prosecution has announced its intention to seek prison sentences of more than 100 years. Although the trial was originally announced on 26 October 1979, it did not take place until 1982 due to several suspensions. Nine of the women involved were acquitted. A man who ordered the abortions and a woman who performed them were convicted. The verdict was appealed, but the appeal was suspended several times before being heard in late 1983. Four women were acquitted, while six women and one man were sentenced to prison terms. In the end, these seven people will eventually be pardoned by the state.   Six of the affected women had serious medical conditions that would have put their pregnancies at risk. The court later concluded that therapeutic interventions for abortion were justified.  In 1982, a demonstration in support of the Bilbao Eleven took place in front of the Palau de la Generalitat in Barcelona. At that time, they had been in prison for six years.
At least one woman had been denounced by her ex-husband. In addition to prison sentences, the prosecution attempted to disenfranchise the defendants. During the protest in Barcelona, police violently attacked protesters and inflicted head injuries on several women.  An amnesty petition for the Bilbao 11 was signed by more than 1,300 women, including politicians, singers, artists, and journalists, all of whom said they had had abortions as well. All but those who performed abortions were pardoned in 1982.  Following the Bilbao cases, the government ended attempts to prosecute women who had performed illegal abortions.  The previously prescribed submission of information and the subsequent three-day cooling-off period prior to a woman`s abortion were omitted. In addition, women aged 16 and 17 can now have an abortion without informing a parent or guardian. Any woman who undergoes this procedure is also entitled to a temporary disability allowance during her recovery. In June 2021, the European Parliament published a report (albeit despite strong opposition from the far-right Catholic lobby) calling on EU governments to guarantee the right to abortion and access to health services.
The following month, Spain`s equality minister, Irene Montero, announced plans to revise the 2010 law. The newly reformed version of the law was finally announced in May 2022, and the changes are significant. Under the 1985 law, it has been reported that the threshold for “endangering maternal mental health” is very low, making it a loophole for abortions on demand.  The abortion rate more than doubled from 54,000 in 1998 to 112,000 in 2007.  According to the pro-choice organization Associacio Drets Sexuals i Reproductius, since legalization in 2010, the Spanish Ministry of Health has made no effort to raise awareness about abortion or promote information upon request. In Spain, according to statistics from the Ministry of Health, the evolution of the number of abortions is as follows: in Title II, Articles 13 and 14, abortion is legalised during the first 14 weeks of pregnancy. During this period, the woman can make a free and informed decision on the termination of her pregnancy without the intervention of third parties. Abortion was possible from 5 July 1985 in a limited form.  Under this previous legislation, it was permitted only under the following conditions: preservation of the mother`s mental health (in this case, two specialists must agree); whether the pregnancy was a by-product of rape or incest reported to the police (abortion must be performed within the first twelve weeks); if the fetus had malformations or mental retardation at birth (two specialists had to agree on the results); or if the mother`s physical health was in imminent danger (in this case, an abortion could be performed without the consent of the woman`s family doctor or the woman herself).  The PSOE introduced regulations to legalize abortion in 1983 by amending the Spanish Penal Code.
 Abortion was eventually legalized by Congress later that year by a vote of 186 to 50, but did not go into effect until July 1985, when the Coalición Popular (now Partido Popular) challenged its constitutionality. The decriminalization of abortion was allowed for three reasons. The first was that it was ethical in the case of rape, the second that it might be necessary to save the mother`s life, and the third was eugenic in allowing abortion in cases of fetal malformation.     The three conditions that allowed abortion were criticized, particularly on maternal mental health grounds, as opponents of abortion believed that in practice they allowed abortion on demand, even though women were legally required to have a psychiatrist testify about their mental health problems before the procedure could be performed.   Other countries have legalized abortion at the same time. Italy legalized abortion in May 1981 following a referendum, while in Portugal, abortion was legalized by parliament in November 1982.  “If there is a serious conflict between your conscience and the law, morally, internally, you must reject it,” she said, adding that she had nine children as proof of her anti-abortion views. When Dr. Abel Renuncio arrived at Santiago Apóstol Hospital, a facility in the rural town of Miranda de Ebro, his team decided for the first time to offer abortions. Since his team members had not been trained to do so, they learned the World Health Organization`s protocols themselves. On January 24, 1941, Franco`s abortion was officially declared a crime against the state.
   It was already a crime based on the Código Penal of 1932.   Doctors who performed abortions could receive prison sentences ranging from 6 years to 1 day to 14 years and 8 months, as well as fines ranging from 2,500 to 50,000 pesetas. Doctors have lost their professional qualifications for 10 to 20 years. Pharmacists or other persons in their service who dispense substances or medicines considered to be defective may face loss of professional qualifications for 5 to 10 years and fines ranging from 1,000 to 25,000 pesetas. Any doctor, midwife or other doctor who has witnessed an abortion is required by law to report it to the authorities. Otherwise, a fine will be imposed. At the same time, any sale of equipment used for contraceptive purposes or to promote their use may result in imprisonment from 1 month and 1 day to 2 months.   Sex education was also banned, with penalties for teaching.  The Penal Code was amended in the Código Penal of 1944 by adding a penalty for third parties who perform an abortion on a woman without her consent or inadvertently induce an abortion if they are violent towards a pregnant woman. Both offences resulted in minor prison sentences.  In Spain, the abortion law was updated in May 2022.
Law 2/2010 on sexual and reproductive health and abortion was finally adopted by 184 votes in favour, 158 against and one abstention. The law was backed by the PSOE, Spain`s ruling party, led by Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, and Equality Minister Bibiana Aido. The parties that supported the government were the Basque Nationalist Party (PNV), the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC), the United Left (IU), the Initiative for the Catalan Greens (ICV), the Galician Nationalist Bloc (BNG), Nafarroa Bai and two members of the Union and Convergence (CiU). Whatever its legal status, abortion still seems taboo and inaccessible to many. Centres do not respond, information is limited and women`s judgement is questioned. Women`s sexual and reproductive rights, as well as their freedom to exercise them, are fundamental to gender empowerment and equality. Governments and laws must ensure that abortions are not only legal, but also free, safe and accessible to all. The 2010 version of the law also stipulated that minors aged 16 and 17 may request an abortion according to the same guidelines as an adult (18 years of age or older); However, while all decision-making power was in their hands, at least one parent had to be informed, unless the minor “claimed that this would lead to serious conflicts manifested in danger of domestic violence, threats, coercion, abuse, uprooting or abandonment”. The People`s Party was the only party opposed to the adoption of the new law.
It was also rejected by some members of other parties such as the Canary Coalition, the Union of the Navarrese People (UPN), the Union, Progress and Democracy (UPyD) and seven CiU deputies. Civil society organizations also voiced their opposition outside parliament: representatives of the Spanish Episcopal Conference of the Catholic Church, pro-life associations and the Institute for Family Policy (IPF). In 2009, a survey of Spanish adolescent girls conducted by the Center for Sociological Research or Centro de Investigaciones Sociológicas found that 55% of young people thought that only women should decide the issue, one in four thought that society should set certain limits, while 15% were against abortion in all cases.