ABORTION REFORM

Galician PP leader throws support behind calls for abortion bill to be softened

Núñez Feijóo aligns himself with growing wave of dissent toward the planned reform of the law

The regional premier of Galicia, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, on Friday aligned himself with the growing wave of dissent toward the reform of the abortion law within the ranks of the Popular Party. Feijóo said that the reform should aspire to attain "middle ground" and expressed his personal opinion that going against the 1985 legislation, the first on abortion in democratic Spain, "was not advisable."

However, the draft bill passed by Cabinet last week is more restrictive still as fetal malformation is not a reason to abort, leading to a backlash by the opposition groups, women's rights organizations, medical professionals and leading figures of the ruling party in Spain. Describing the reform as a "matter of enormous political, juridical and moral complexity," the leader of the PP in Galicia noted that the bill is in its infancy and the document "still has a long way to go" in its passage through Congress and the Senate. But Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón has warned that the reform "will not be modified" on the floor of the lower house as it was an electoral "promise" on the part of the PP. The minister has defended the reform and called it the "most progressive and advanced" the government has enacted.

"If levels of protection are established based on the capacity of the fetus, what is preventing further legislation extending that to newborn babies?" Gallardón told the conservative daily Abc. "I would have a child with serious disabilities; it is a personal conviction."

"Abortion is not a right; abortion is a personal tragedy," the minister added. Terming the 2010 law introduced by the Socialists allowing terminations for any reason up to 14 weeks of pregnancy a method of contraception, Gallardón said it was "contrary to the interpretation of the Supreme Court on the right to life." However, that court has yet to rule on the constitutionality of the 2010 law, which the PP appealed against.

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