ABORTION REFORM

Rubalcaba: “PM has swapped women’s liberty for a handful of far-right votes”

French minister expresses “profound concern” at the Popular Party's draft law saying Spain “has taken a backward step”

Three members of the protest group Femen protest in front of San Manuel y San Benito church in Madrid to decry Spain's plan to ban women from freely opting for abortion.
Three members of the protest group Femen protest in front of San Manuel y San Benito church in Madrid to decry Spain's plan to ban women from freely opting for abortion.PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU (AFP)

Clinics offering abortions in Spain have calculated that the new reforms to the law passed by Cabinet last Friday represent an “obstacle course” that could prolong the time required for authorization by “three to four weeks.” This could in turn lead to an increase in late terminations, which are significantly more dangerous, said Diego Fernández, director of Madrid’s Dator clinic.

At a meeting of doctors, jurists and women’s associations, Socialist Party leader Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba launched a scathing attack on the government: “Mariano Rajoy has swapped the liberty of women for a handful of far-right votes; this law is designed to prevent abortions in Spain.”

The reform, presented by Justice Minister Albert Ruiz-Gallardón, eliminates a woman’s right to choose to abort up to 14 weeks of pregnancy, as was the case under the previous 2010 law introduced by the Socialists, and reduces the reasons for a clinic to authorize a termination to two: rape, and the risk of serious physical or psychological harm to the mother.

Rubalcaba pledged to take the matter to the European Parliament and said his party would seek to persuade Popular Party (PP) deputies to vote against the bill when it reaches the floor of Congress, where the conservatives hold an absolute majority.

Francisca García, president of the ACAI, which groups together the clinics authorized to perform abortions, said the new law is a “legal, medical and ideological odyssey; they have not dared to ban abortions, but more or less have.”

France’s minister for women’s rights, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, has expressed her “profound concern” at the law and said Spain “has taken a backward step.”

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