WOMEN’S groups have hit out plans to reform Spain’s liberal abortion laws.
Although the full draft of the reforms has yet to be confirmed, the ruling People’s party has said it favours returning to a system where abortion will only be allowed in the case of rape, or where there is a risk to the physical or mental health of the mother.
In 2010, under the Socialist government, Spain relaxed its laws on abortion, giving women the right to an abortion up to 14 weeks of pregnancy. In cases where the mother’s health is at risk, or when the foetus shows serious deformities, Spanish women have until the 22nd week to end the pregnancy.
The new reforms are expected to make the procedure illegal in the case of foetal deformities and, in a reversal from previous laws, 16 and 17-year-olds will have to obtain permission from their parents to have an abortion.
The polling agency Metroscopia last year found that 81% of Spaniards were against the reforms.
“These changes have more to do with politics and ideology than social realities today in Spain,” said Francisca García of the Asociación de Clínicas Acreditadas para la Interrupción del Embarazo, the umbrella group that represents 98% of the country’s abortion clinics.
“From all the data we’ve seen, the number of abortions in Spain is actually on the decline,” she said. “The People’s party is trying to satisfy the rightwing factions of its party.”
Given the economic crisis that has gripped the country, “there is little public demand for this initiative. These are secondary problems compared to the crisis,” said García.