The Spanish government has officially called it quits on reforming their abortion law, which allows abortion up until the 14th week of pregnancy.
The new bill would have restricted abortion to only cases of rape or serious health risk to the mother. In Europe, abortion is widely legal in early stages of pregnancy, and is outlawed only in Ireland, Malta and Andorra.
The failure of the legislation has caused Spain’s Justice Minister, Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon, to resign from his position. When Mr. Gallardon was asked what he would do next he said, “I’m not leaving to take up any other political post. After being Mayor of Madrid, First Minister of Madrid and now Justice Minister, my political life is over.”
The Spanish government has scrapped plans to restrict the availability of abortion because there was no consensus for change, the prime minister said Tuesday, in a move that brought the resignation of the justice minister who was in charge of introducing a new law.
Spain now allows abortion without restrictions in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy.
The government had promised to restrict abortion to only cases of rape or serious health risks. But the proposal triggered widespread denunciation, with critics saying it would put Spain back 40 years in terms of women’s rights.
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said his government had battled to get wide agreement on the changes but failed. He said abortion is an issue that “affects the profound and personal convictions of all citizens” and needs to be taken seriously.
“We can’t have a law that will be changed when another government comes in,” said Rajoy.
Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon called a news conference to announce his resignation, saying he had proved “unable to turn (the government’s plan) into law.”
Rajoy said the government would seek instead to change the current law so that 16- and 17-year-olds will once again have to obtain their parents’ permission.
Local media said the government was ditching the plan because of fears of a voter backlash in municipal and general elections next year.
On Sunday, several thousand people held an anti-abortion protest in Madrid, with some warning they would withdraw their vote from the Popular Party if the government backtracked on the abortion restrictions.