While Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón appeared to have taken it for granted that his controversial reform of the abortion law would not include fetal abnormality as a legal reason for requesting the termination of a pregnancy, a growing number of members of his own ruling Popular Party [PP] have disputed this.
"The debate is still open," said PP spokesman in Congress Alfonso Alonso on Tuesday. "There are different voices within the PP," he added.
Gallardón's proposals would make abortion even more restrictive than when it was first legalized in 1985. The current 2010 law brought Spain into line with much of Europe by allowing abortion on demand up to the 14th week of pregnancy, and up to week 22 in cases of fetal abnormality or serious health risk.
Defending his proposed reforms in the Senate, Gallardón claimed that under his amendments, "for the first time in the history of Spain" women would not face a prison sentence for having an illegal abortion.