Spain moves to restrict abortion in swing to right

Fri Dec 20, 2013 12:45pm EST
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Emma Pinedo and Sonya Dowsett

MADRID (Reuters) - Spain's center-right government moved to make it harder for women to get an abortion on Friday, restricting a law that had allowed the procedure on request within a 14 week term, in a bid to rally core conservative support.

The proposed new rules will make Spain one of the most restrictive European countries on abortion and goes against the regional trend of greater ease of access, after Ireland legalized abortion under limited circumstances this year.

The draft law allows abortion only in the case of rape or if the pregnancy poses a serious physical or mental health risk to the mother. It eliminates the option of abortion on request in the case of malformation of the fetus.

In this case women would also have to argue that the pregnancy poses a physical or mental health risk.

The ruling People's Party (PP) has an absolute majority in parliament, where the bill is expected to pass easily.

The majority of European countries offer abortion on request, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), with 88 percent allowing the termination of pregnancies if the fetus is thought to be impaired or in cases of rape or incest.

Abortion is illegal on any grounds in Malta and Andorra and severely limited in Poland.

The PP made reforming the abortion law an electoral promise in its 2011 campaign, and Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon is one of the more right-wing ministers who has often sided with the Catholic Church.   Continued...

Pro-choice demonstrators take part in a rally in Oviedo December 20, 2013. REUTERS /Eloy Alonso