Spain is set to roll back its abortion laws to what they were in 1985, meaning bad. Right now, Spain allows all abortions up to the 14th week of pregnancy, and abortions are permitted in later weeks in "life-threatening" situations. But that'll probably change soon, as the ruling conservative People's Party seeks to ban abortions, except in cases of rape or risk to the mother's health. Even these cases will have to be approved by two doctors. Of course, the influential Catholic Church in Spain is pushing to ban abortion and has fought hard for the bill. But according to Spanish polls, 80 percent of the public — which includes practicing Catholics — believe the bill is unnecessary.
Protests against the bill date back to December, and have been organized by both pro-life and pro-choice supporters. Women have even registered their bodies for property rights (symbolically, of course.) "We are fed up of being told how we have to deal with our body. This is why we have decided to express our anger in a creative way, with a collective action," spokeswoman and activist Yolanda Dominguez told press. "Our body is a territory we must re-conquer."
Back in 2010, the law allowing women access to abortions up until the 14th week was passed. But in Dec. 2013, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy approved abortion restrictions. And on Wednesday, a challenge bill from the opposing Socialist Party was defeated.
Many are concerned that the inability to procure abortions will make women turn to desperate and unsafe abortion practices. As Bustle reported in December:
When the 2010 bill passed, the largely Catholic country reacted strongly, with thousands of pro-life demonstrators marching through Spanish cities in protest of the reforms — in spite of the fact that in 2007, at least 112,000 abortions were performed, despite the legal barriers. In 2011, roughly 118,000 abortions were performed in Spain, 100,000 of which would, under the new law, be considered illegal. Many critics are now worried that the new legislation will lead to “abortion tourism,” where mothers are forced to travel to neighboring countries just to get access to abortions.
Another traditionally Catholic country, Ireland, made a surprising move in July when it passed its first-ever law allowing abortion, albeit only in cases where a mother's health is at stake.
As The Wire notes, Spain currently boasts a 26 percent unemployment rate and had to accept a $125 billion bailout from the European Union in 2012. Maybe the country's officials should be focusing on other issues?
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