Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy confirmed on Tuesday that his government’s planned abortion legislation would be shelved, given that it had not found sufficient consensus to be moved ahead.
In its place, Rajoy announced that the government would reform the current law, in place since 2010, to ensure that 16- and 17-year-olds will need the consent of their families before they can go ahead with a termination.
The so-called Family Protection Plan will be announced before the end of the year, he said.
Rajoy made the remarks after appearing at the World Public Relations Conference, which is taking place in Madrid.
The planned abortion law – the drafting of which fell to Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón – was approved by the Cabinet on December 20 last year, and reportedly had the support of the prime minister. Since then it has been stuck in limbo, having been universally rejected by all of Spain’s opposition parties and by sections of the Popular Party itself, who saw it as an obstacle to success in the 2015 general elections.
Gallardón’s draft law would have seen conditions for terminations to be granted taken back to the 1980s. It would have entirely removed the right to abortion on demand up until the 14th week of term, returning to a system whereby a pregnancy could only be ended in cases of rape, serious fetal deformities or when the mother’s health was in danger.
The most controversial aspect of the draft law was Gallardón’s plan to do away with fetal deformities as a valid reason to request an abortion. This would not have applied in cases when continuation of the pregnancy was “incompatible with life,” in the words of the draft, but it did mean that a woman would have to cite another reason in remaining cases (such as risk of psychological damage to the mother), and would have involved a lengthy and complicated process to prove it.