The Spanish government is moving to end a legal ban on abortion.
The Socialist government’s bill will now go before Congress where it will face resistance from the conservative opposition.
If it gets the go-ahead, women, including girls under 16, would be free to terminate a pregnancy up to 14 weeks after conception.
Bibiana Aido, the Spanish Minister for Equal Rights
said: “The voluntary interruption of pregnancy is guaranteed with this law inside the national health system, for it is a free public service, and it can be performed in public hospitals.”
The proposals have caused controversy in the mainly Catholic country. Condemned by the church, the opposition Popular Party and pro-life groups the planned policy switch has led to angry street protests.
A spokesman for a pro-life association in Spain said: “There are 10% more Spaniards who are against the law proposed by the government. We draw the conclusion that there is no social need for it.”
Spain’s government is also committed to making the contraceptive morning-after pill available over the counter in pharmacies without prescription.
EU statistics from other countries show that it helps significantly reduce the number of abortions.