Abortion is understandably a controversial subject in a catholic country like Spain. When changes to the law allowing abortions up to the 14th week of pregnancy were introduced by the former socialist government in 2010, hundreds of thousands took to the streets in protest. However, since then, the number of abortions in Spain have not risen significantly showing that the changes did not spell a free for all.
The current conservative government pledged to change the law as part of its electoral programme and on Friday the cabinet approved the changes. Abortion will only be permitted in cases of rape, where there is serious foetal deformity or if the pregnancy presents physical or mental danger to the mother. Clearly, the PP have been under pressure from the Catholic Church to make these changes. The church still harbours idealistic notions about issues such as abortion and contraception which many feel are out of touch with the modern world.
Women’s rights groups claim that this move takes Spain back 30 years and say that it will encourage “abortion tourism”. For them, the only positive aspect of the changes to the law is that it will not criminalize women who have abortions as was the case with the 1985 legislation.