Pro-life Bill survives Spanish vote

Legislation to restrict abortion moves forward

New legislation aimed at rowing back on abortion provision in Spain has survived an attempt to scupper it in the nation’s parliament.

The legislation was first proposed by the conservative People’s Party of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy in December, and had led to protests across Spain by groups and individuals opposed to the proposal to restrict abortions to cases of rape or danger to the health of the mother. The liberal abortion regime in Spain has existed since 2010.

In the lead up to the February 11 vote, protestors vented their anger at the Catholic Church which had offered its backing to the proposals. On February 2, topless women hurled red-stained underpants at Madrid’s Cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco Varela as he arrived at a church to celebrate Mass, fleeing when members of the congregation emerged to defend the prelate.

The parliamentary move to defeat the Bill, which led to a secret ballot to allow for members of the People’s Party to vote as per their conscience, was itself defeated by 183 to 151 votes, though further debate on the Bill will now follow before it is enacted fully in law.

Polls in Spain indicate that at least 80% of the population support full and free access to abortion, while a recent survey by the daily El Pais newspaper revealed that 68% of Popular Party voters back a woman’s right to choose on the issue of abortion.