There have been many words spoken in Parliament in Spain about the new repressive anti-abortion law proposed by Rajoy’s Partido Popular (PP) Government. There have been demonstrations in many capital cities around the world and indeed in towns and cities in Spain. Now the opposition party, PSOE, is taking its message directly to the people of Spain and meeting them in their local communities.
One starting fact to emerge from this engagement is that only eight per cent of the 120,000 abortions carried out in Spain last year would have been legal under the proposed new law being introduced by the minister Ruiz GallardÃ³n.
Under the text of the PP’s new legislation, voluntary interruption of pregnancy will be limited to two cases: cases of rape, where there is a prior legal complaint to the police, and where there is a serious danger to the life or physical or mental health of the pregnant woman within the first 22 weeks of gestation.
Trinidad JimÃ©nez, PSOE’s secretary of social politics, who was a former health minister in the Zapatero Government, says the draft legislation if enacted would drag Spain back more than three decades ago. She added: “The reform of the abortion law puts Spain at the tail [end] of European countries” and places it alongside countries with restrictive laws such as Malta, Poland and Finland.
JimÃ©nez observed that the text of the PP legislation had created “deep rejection in other European countries” and even amongst the ranks of Rajoy’s and GallardÃ³n’s own party, where it is viewed as attacking the freedom of women. JimÃ©nez continued: “It is a deeply conservative blueprint, rooted in religious principles that have nothing to do with the role that women are playing in Spanish society.” She believes the possibility of terminating a pregnancy is going to become “an obstacle course”.
PSOE has also pointed out a disturbing fact. It is estimated that in Spain 92 per cent of rapes occur in the family. Hence as these rapes go unreported to the authorities, in such cases there will be no termination of pregnancy. PSOE is also unhappy that the malformation of the foetus will not be grounds for an abortion under the new law.
This latter omission alone could place the PP at odds with many of its traditional supporters. On Sunday the centre-right newspaper ABC, in an opinion poll carried out by GAD3, showed 85.7 per cent of Spaniards want abortions to be allowed in cases where the foetus is congenitally malformed.
Under the existing law, introduced when PSOE were in power, minors were permitted to have an abortion without their parents being informed. PSOE point out that in 2013 there was a five per cent drop in the number of abortions over the 2012 figure, resulting in a total of 120,000. Of those, only 4,000 related to minors and hence the PP’s argument in promoting its draconian law that young people were using abortion as a method of contraception is totally false.Tags: Europe
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This post was written by David Eade