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Most Restrictive Abortion Law in Europe

Spanish Prime Minister Marino Rajoy has caused a storm amongst the Spanish public as his government attempts to tighten abortion laws, controversially becoming one of the most restrictive abortion laws in Europe.

The current government are pushing for abortions to only be permissible in instances of sexual assault, or if the mother’s psychological or physical health is at risk. Women would additionally need to find two independent doctors willing to testify that the mother would be in danger if she were to carry the foetus to full term.

These plans have been met with outrage in and around Spain. A survey conducted by the polling organisation ‘Metroscopia’ for El País’ newspaper in January revealed that 86% of Spaniards believed that women should have the right to choose whether to terminate a pregnancy, which interestingly, 68% of those that voted for Rajoy’s governing Popular Party agreed with. The lack of support for Rajoy’s plans within his own party has reportedly taken the Prime Minster by surprise.

Members of the European Parliament have also spoken out, calling the Spanish Government to reconsider.

Portugese MEP Inês Cristina Zuber highlighted the potential dangers of the bill if it becomes law, commenting that due to the significant rates of unemployment in Spain, the poorest Spanish women will suffer the most, as they will no longer have access to safe and low cost abortions.

Mass protests against the bill have occurred both in Madrid and outside Spanish embassies around Europe. On February 2nd Antonio Maria Roucho one of Madrid’s highest-ranking clergyman, was surrounded by protesters including five topless women from the feminist group Femin who had their bare torsos painted with words warning Cardinal Roucho to stay away from their reproductive organs, whilst shouting “Abortion is sacred!”.

Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón, who drafted the bill, explained that the restriction of abortions would have “positive effects” on Spain’s long struggling economy, by increasing the country’s birth rate which is currently one of the lowest in the EU.

With Spanish anger rising against the laws, Rajoy needs to start listening to the Spanish people, otherwise his legislative power could be in danger.

Article: Natalie Preston

Photographs: (Main); (Featured).