Spain government approves tightening of abortion law
Spain's government on Friday approved a tightening of the abortion law that would end women's right to opt for the procedure freely up to 14 weeks of pregnancy, outraging pro-choice campaigners.
Ministers at a cabinet meeting adopted a draft bill for a law which would allow abortion only in cases of rape or a threat to the mother's health, Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon told a news conference.
The reform would replace the current law which allows women to have an abortion without restrictions until 14 weeks of pregnancy, and up to 22 weeks if serious deformations are detected in the foetus.
Ruiz-Gallardon said the new bill would under no circumstances criminalise women for having abortions, as was the case with the previous 1985 legislation.
He said it guaranteed the "defence both of the protection of life of the unborn and of women's rights" and would "act always in the interests of the woman".
Pro-choice campaigners say the reform will take Spain back to the 1980s, when women had to go abroad to end unwanted pregnancies.
The bill is likely to pass easily through parliament where the conservative governing Popular Party holds a strong majority.
The deputy leader of the main opposition Socialist Party, Elena Valenciano, said defenders of abortion rights would "mobilise society against what is going to be an incomprehensible reduction in women's freedom".
A study by pollster Metroscopia published in April in centre-left newspaper El Pais indicated that 46 percent of Spaniards favoured keeping the law in its current form, while 41 percent wanted a stricter system.
© 2013 AFP