Controversial legislation to liberalise abortion laws in Spain has passed its first hurdle in parliament.
The reform by the Socialist government will allow abortions up until the 14th week of pregnancy. At the moment the procedure is only allowed in cases of rape, foetal damage or when there’s a danger to the physical or mental health of the mother. One of the most controversial elements of the bill was a plan to allow 16-year-olds to terminate pregnancies without parental consent. However, the minister in charge of the reform indicated this could be modified to reach a consensus. But she maintains the current law must be changed, saying it “humiliates” pregnant women. Opposition to the law have been led by Catholic groups and the opposition People’s Party. A party spokeswoman said: “This law is the clearest example of what free abortion is. It’s a system that reflects directly the extinguished regimes from Eastern Europe.” Tens of thousands of anti-abortion campaigners have been holding protest, keeping up the pressure on the government. Observers say the bill runs the risk of galvanising opposition to Spain’s minority governmenta, already heavily criticised for the handling of the economic crisis.