Spain’s anti-abortion law looking unlikely

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SPAIN’S controversial anti-abortion law will not be passed, according to the Spanish daily newspaper El Mundo, in a development which is likely to cause tensions within Mariano Rajoy’s Partido Popular (PP) government.

The law caused outrage in the pro-choice camp, seeing the proposal as 10 steps backwards for women’s rights.

Towards the end of July Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón claimed that the law would be passed by the end of the summer: for Gallardón’s words to become true, the law will have to be passed within the week.

According to El Mundo, however, this is unlikely to happen. Government sources have said that ministers are leaning towards shelving the polemical law once and for all. A source close to the PP said: “There’s no consensus within government around the bill, and if an agreement cannot be reached -which seems unlikely – the draft bill will be dropped.” It is doubtful that the proposal will ever get to be debated in Parliament.

The draft bill, which was passed by ministers in December of last year, caused widespread controversy and protests in both Spanish society at large and within the PP. In the end, changes to the law proposed by the draft bill satisfied neither the pro-life nor pro-choice factions inside the party.

The proposal was staunchly pro-life in the extreme: taking away a woman’s right to decide whether to abort or not in nearly all scenarios, including that of a malformed foetus. The noise raised by Partido Popular representatives forced Rajoy to oblige Gallardón to open the bill up for consultation. The bill was altered, but even so the amount of support lost for Gallardón’s proposal has been catastrophic.

PP sources maintain that the general consensus within the party now is that the anti-abortion law was a mistake. If El Mundo is correct in its claim that the bill will soon be put to rest, Prime Minister Rajoy will now have to reflect on the damage that both the initial proposal and the subsequent u-turn have done to his party, as well as the very real possibility that Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón may be feeling resentful, with his authority undermined.  

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