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Spanish Government proposes new protective abortion law

by | Dec 20, 2013

 

By Dave Andrusko

Spain's Mariano Rajoy on election night, 2011

Spain’s Mariano Rajoy on election night, 2011

Carrying out a pledge that was part of prime minister Mariano Rajoy’s 2011 campaign, the Spanish government today proposed a major rollback of the “liberalized” abortion laws enacted by the previous Socialist government.

Parliament must still approve the bill, but Rajoy’s Popular Party’s has a large majority, meaning the proposal is all but certain to become law.

According to the Guardian, ministers at a cabinet meeting adopted a draft bill on Friday “that an abortion will only be allowed in the case of rape or when there is a serious mental or physical health risk to the mother.”

Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon “said the change was necessary to provide greater protection for both women and the unborn,” the Associated Press reported. “What the government understands is that in the dramatic circumstances of an abortion the woman is not guilty. The woman is always the victim,” he said.

The law adopted by the Socialist government in 2010 legalized abortion through the first 14 weeks of pregnancy and up to 22 weeks if the baby is found to have “serious deformations.” The law also allowed 16- and 17-year old minors to have abortions without parental consent.

“Women seeking abortions will need approval from two doctors who are not performing the procedure and doctors can decline to perform an abortion for reasons of conscience,” according to the Associated Press’ Ciaran Giles and Harold Heckle. “The likelihood of a child being born with disabilities will not be an acceptable justification for abortion.”

As NRL News reported in 2011 (“Spain’s Opposition Party, Favored to Win in November, Pledges to Modify Country’s Liberal Abortion Policy”), as part of the party’s electoral program published by the Spanish media just prior to the election, the Popular Party said, “We will change the current legislation model relating to abortion in order to reinforce the protection of the right to life as well as female minors.” The text went on to say, “Motherhood must be protected and supported. We will defend a law protecting motherhood with measures helping pregnant women, in particular those in difficult situations.”

Francisca Garcia of the Association of Accredited Abortion Clinics, said that under the new legislation about 100,000 of the 118,000 abortions carried out last year would be illegal.