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in brief: spain to ban abortion

800px-Madrid_anti-criminalization_of_abortion_protest

In Spain, abortion has been legalised since 1985. However a current Bill being debated in the Spanish Parliament looks set to change that.

The new legislation being considered bans the procedure in most cases, allowing only for exceptions regarding a mother’s health and where the pregnancy was induced as a result of rape. Serious birth defects will no longer be grounds for terminating pregnancy.

The laws have been considered to be one of the toughest pieces of abortion legislation in Europe. The procedure remains legal and widely available across France, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal and Italy. Even Ireland, with its strongly Catholic society, amended its laws last year to legalise abortion in limited circumstances where a mother’s life was at risk.

The Bill is set to pass in the Spanish Parliament, which is largely controlled by the conservative Populist Party. Tightening Spain’s abortion rules was one of the Popular Party’s campaign promises during the 2011 general elections, which the party won by a wide margin.

Reports are that the current Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has, in recent months, moved towards the right in an effort to contain members of his own party from defecting to the new far right political party, Vox. This is despite the fact that recent polls show that more than 80 per cent of Spaniards want abortion to remain legal and accessible.

The proposal has been met with wide protests from pro-choice Spaniards. These activists have responded to the Bill by stating that women who want an abortion will just ‘return to the old days’ by travelling to neighbouring countries where abortion remains legal.

Despite this strong backlash, the political landscape makes passage of the Bill inevitable .

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