European Parliament opens debate on Spain’s abortion law

Women’s Committee chairman expresses “great concern” over proposed new legislation

Protest outside the Spanish Embassy in Paris against the proposed new abortion law.
Protest outside the Spanish Embassy in Paris against the proposed new abortion law.PIERRE ANDRIEU (AFP)

The European Parliament is expected to debate proposed changes to Spain's abortion law on Thursday, with the Social Democrats, Green and left-wing parties joining forces to reject the changes that the administration is planning.

Hannes Swoboda, Social Democrats spokesman in the EU parliament, told reporters on Monday that his political grouping was against the reform, which restricts a woman's right to the procedure unless there is a danger to the mother's health or in cases of rape.

The proposed amendment, which also does not contemplate the right to abort in the case of serious fetal malformation, has caused a rift within the ruling conservative Popular Party, with some party barons calling for a consensus on changes to the current law introduced by the then Socialist government in 2010, which provides for abortion on demand in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy.

The debate across Europe over Spain's planned changes to the 2010 legislation was ignited on Friday when Mikael Gustafsson, chairman of the Women's Committee, sent a letter to all parliament members expressing "great concern" over the proposed law.

“It’s a question of human rights; that women can decide about their own body and that it is not men who decide,” Gustafsson said later.

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