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President Mariano Rajoy's government broke its commitment to completely repeal the law allowing government-funded abortion-on-demand until the 14th week of pregnancy. matthi / Shutterstock.com
Luis Losada Pescador

Opinion,

Spain’s new abortion restrictions are actually a betrayal of the government’s pro-life base

Luis Losada Pescador

MADRID, September 10, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- On Thursday the Spanish Senate approved the mini-reform of their abortion law, and minors will not be able commit an abortion without parental consent. 

This good news has sparked the anger of the radical feminist lobbies and the union of abortion providers, called the Association of Accredited Abortion Centers (ACAI).

However, for pro-life groups and some pro-life politicians, this mini-reform is clearly insufficient.  The law was passed with three pro-life senators of the ruling party (Partido Popular, PP) voting against it for this very reason.

The Popular Party campaigned in the 2011 national elections with the commitment to recall the so-called Aído Act 2010. This law, passed by the socialist government of ex-President Rodriguez Zapatero, established the “right” to abortion until the 14th week.

The PP's opposition to the law was unequivocally clear when they were the minority in government. They participated in numerous demonstrations against the Aído Act and appealed the issue to the Constitutional Court, which, five years later, has yet to issue a ruling.

After winning the election, the PP party began testing the political waters before beginning to recall the socialist abortion law. The only thing that was clear is that they would not accept the recognition of abortion as a right. The new law would recover the prior system of regulations of abortion in order to balance the rights of the mother and the right to life of the unborn child, who under the 1986 Constitution was granted personhood and considered "legally protectable."

In December 2013 the then-Minister of Justice, Alberto Ruiz Gallardón, presented a draft law on abortion that, for the most part, made good on the campaign commitments made by the PP. Not only did that proposed law eliminate “abortion on demand” but it also tightened the regulations in order to protect children with disabilities from abortion based on discrimination in accord with the Convention on Persons with Disabilities.

The publication of that proposed law raised a wave of criticism not only from feminist groups and the opposition Socialist Party but also internally within the PP. However, in February 2014 the PP still went ahead with the bill in Congress.

However, a few months later the current president, Mariano Rajoy, “aborted” the initial reform due to a "lack of consensus" and announced that they would substitute the robust reform with a mini-reform. President Rajoy described his decision as the "sensible" thing to do, but unleashed a wave of the most conservative sectors of the electorate who that very same day held an impromptu rally at the headquarters of the Popular Party.

The then-Minister Gallardón ended up resigning due to "having been unable" to keep his electoral promise by passing the more robust reform of the liberal socialist abortion law.

The mini-reform has also generated controversy in Spain, although to a smaller degree.  The government took its time approving the mini-reform but finally had the votes to approve it on Wednesday. 

For many in the pro-life movement in Spain, the passage of the mini-reform represents a “betrayal” by the government and a "missed opportunity" to truly defend the right to life.

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