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ABORTION DEBATE

Abortion reform draft will be modified but not radically changed, Justice Ministry sources say

Proposed legislation will be sent to legal, health and educational for their comments Galician PP leader pleads with prime minister not to make "Socialists' mistake" of passing law unilaterally

The government’s controversial draft abortion reform, which greatly restricts the right to terminate pregnancies, will not enter law in the form approved by the Cabinet, Justice Ministry sources said Thursday.

“There will be modifications, of course, but not substantial changes,” the sources said.

The proposed legislation has caused a rift within the ruling Popular Party (PP), with a number of conservative heavyweights expressing their objections to it in public. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on Wednesday told Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón, the architect of the reform, to listen to the opinions of party barons.

The Justice Ministry sources said during an official act that the text of the proposed legislation will be sent to the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ), the legal watchdog and to health and educational institutions for them to comment on it.

The sources were speaking as the social furor raised by the planned new law continued unabated. Rajoy had told a meeting of the PP’s executive committee to keep the debate on the issue within the confines of the party, but less than 24 hours later the PP premier of the region of Cantabria, Ignacio Diego, described the draft law as “improvable,” while Galicia’s PP premier Alberto Núñez Feijóo, one of the more vociferous opponents of Gallardón’s proposals, called on Rajoy “not to make the same error as Zapatero in approving a law unilaterally without sufficient support.”

Don't make the same error as Zapatero in approving a law without sufficient support”

Feijóo was referring to the 2010 abortion law approved during the mandate of Socialist Prime José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero and which allowed for abortion on demand in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy, bringing Spain more into line with almost all European countries. While in opposition the PP appealed the 2010 law with the Constitutional Court, which still has to deliver its ruling.

The Galician premier called for changes to the text presented by Gallardón to bring abortion legislation closer to that of the 1985 abortion law introduced by the government of Socialist Prime Minister Felipe González in 1985.

“The government is looking to recover the tacit consensus of the 1985 law, which no government amended in 25 years,” Feijóo said. “We should look for a law that has substantial points in common with what was in place for 25 years in Spain without it being modified by any government and repeal the 2010 law.”

Feijóo indicated that the proposed new law should allow for abortion in the case of fetal malformation, something that Gallardón’s text does not.

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