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Spain Gov't to Debate Abortion Reform Friday

Fri 20th Dec 2013
Spain Gov't to Debate Abortion Reform Friday

The Spanish central government is scheduled to meet later on Friday to finalise moves to restrict the country's abortion laws.

The measure has attracted criticism from many, who argue that restricting access to abortion will only result in an increase in pregnancies being terminated abroad, or - worse still - illegally.

The Conservative government is due to consider the controversial draft reform at a cabinet meeting, interior minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz told the press earlier this morning.

It is expected that the proposed changes will see a u-turn on the reforms made by the previous Socialist PSOE administration in 2010, which gave women the right to abort Foetuses up to 14 weeks of pregnancy.

Both pro-life and pro-choice groups have called for demonstrations marches to be held across Spain.

The 2010 reform also permitted women to abort their foetus up to the 22nd week of pregnancy if the mother's health was at serious risk, or if there were signs of serious deformity.

A law passed in 1985 - and which stood until 2010 - criminalised abortion except in cases of rape, risk to the mother's health or deformation of the foetus.

This simply meant that more and more pregnancies were terminated abroad in countries such as France or the UK.

The Government also justifies the call, quoting figures issued by the Ministry of Health which reports how atotal of 118,359 abortions were carried out in Spain in 2011, up from 113,031 the previous year, suggesting an upward trend.

Current PM Mariano Rajoy made a reform to the abortion law a cornerstone of his election manifesto over 2 years, and has repeatedly put off putting his promise into action - quite possibly fearing the backlash. Both Pro-Life and Pro-Choice groups have called for demonstration marches to be held across Spain in protest over the next few days.

A by Metroscopia published in El Pais earlier this year reported that 46% of Spaniards favoured keeping the law as it stands, with just 41% wishing to go ahead with the measures planned by the PP.

Whatever happens, Rajoy seems to have backed himself into a corner : on one hand he needs to be seen to fulfill his election promise; on the other hand, in doing so he is likely to alienate a large percentage of the electorate.