THE FAR-RIGHT Vox party wants to restrict abortion rights in the Castilla y Leon region by putting in new optional measures for women such as listening to the foetal heartbeat, having a 4D ultrasound scan and getting psychological advice before the procedure goes ahead.

The measures were presented on Thursday by the regional government’s deputy premier, Juan Garcia-Gallardo. The Vox party is the junior partner in a coalition led by the conservative Popular Party. 

‘We are going to offer every parent who wants to see it a real-time video to see the head, the hands, the feet, the fingers,’ García-Gallardo said, in comments reported by news agency AP. ‘In short, all the parts of the body of the child that is being gestated.’

The announcement by the politician drew swift criticism from the political left, in particular the Spanish government – a coalition of the Socialist Party (PSOE) and Unidas Podemos. 

The health minister, Carolina Darias, said that there would be ‘no compromises’ when it comes to abortion rights, while other female members of the Cabinet joined her with condemnation of the plan. 

Spain Madrid Covid 19 Astrazeneca/oxford Vaccine Suspension
Spain’s health minister Carolina Darias. (Photo by Borja Puig de la Bellacasa)

The regional premier of Castilla y León, Alfonso Fernández Mañueco, played down the significance of the measures after the announcement by the Vox politician, making clear that they would be entirely voluntary. He added that they were aimed at boosting birth rates but not at any cost. 

‘If [the measures] are considered to be dangerous for the woman or the foetus, they won’t be done,’ he said. 

Meanwhile, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez also weighed in on the debate. Speaking at an event in Seville on Saturday, he insisted that there would be ‘not a single reversal in the rights of women’ when it comes to abortions. 

Under current Spanish law, terminations are legally available on demand until the 14th week of pregnancy, while a recent change to the law by the PSOE-led government means that 16- and 17-year-olds no longer need parental consent before getting undergoing the procedure.

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