16/01/14 17:01 CET
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Most of the European Parliament’s political groups are demanding the Spanish government abandon plans for more-restrictive abortion laws.
However, Parliament’s centre-right European People’s Party says this should be a decision made by Spain’s national government.
Speaking against the reforms, Spanish centre-left MEP Iratxe García Pérez said: “The government has forgotten the newborns, the children living in Spain right now below the poverty level, because the law forces women to have children with disabilities, while, at the same time, benefits to poor families are being withdrawn!”
The new bill has caused a rift within the Spain’s ruling Popular Party and has seen European Social Democrats, Green and left-wing parties coming together to reject it.
“If you think women are competent enough to run, say, germany and the IMF, than surely they are competent enough to decide about their own bodies and their own lives!” said Dutch liberal MEP (english) Sophie in ‘t Veld during a parliamentary session.
Pro-choice campaigners see the new legislation as a step backwards, but reforming the abortion law was one of the Popular Party’s election promises when they won in Spain’s 2011 vote.
“There are many Europeans, many people from Spain who refused to resign themselves to the non-protection of the living being, the weakest human being, which is the unborn being,” said Spanish centre-right MEP Jaime Mayor Oreja.
Abortions would only be allowed for victims of rape or where there is a risk to the pregnant woman’s physical or psychological health. The legislation would make Spain among Europe’s most restrictive countries on abortion.