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Spain abandons plan to tighten abortion law: PM

23rd September 2014, Comments 0 comments

Spain's conservative government on Tuesday abandoned controversial plans to restrict access to abortion after failing to agree on how far the reform should go, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said.

Rajoy told reporters his government would drop the most contentious parts of the proposed reform, which would have ended women's right to freely opt for abortion up to 14 weeks into a pregnancy.

"I think I have taken the most sensible decision at this time," Rajoy told reporters. "We cannot have a law that will be changed in a minute as soon as another government comes along."

He said his government would push on with a family-planning reform but it would focus on just two issues: requiring girls aged under 18 to get their parents' consent to have an abortion, and other "family support" measures.

It will therefore abandon the most controversial elements earlier proposed by Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon, which sparked street protests and dissent within Rajoy's own party.

A draft of the reform approved in January would have allowed abortion only in cases of rape reported to the police or a medically-certified threat to the mother's physical or psychological health.

It would have ended a woman's right to opt for an abortion on grounds of foetal abnormality.

The former Socialist government brought Spain into line with much of Europe when it passed the current law in 2010.

The existing law allows women to opt for abortion in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy, and up to 22 weeks if the foetus is seriously deformed or if the birth poses a serious risk to the mother.

Ruiz-Gallardon had said lawmakers had to balance the woman's rights with the unborn child's, but he failed to gain enough support to bring his bill to parliament.

"The government has tried as hard as possible to reach the broadest consensus possible," Rajoy said. "We will continue studying ways to obtain greater acceptance of the reform."

© 2014 AFP

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