The man behind Spain’s move to severely restrict the right to abortion has resigned after the planned new law was dropped.
Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon, the former mayor of Madrid, has said he is also stepping down from politics.
The bill has divided Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s ruling conservatives. It would have allowed abortion only in cases of rape or if pregnancy posed a serious health risk to the mother.
“As prime minister, I have taken the decision that is the most sensible. We will continue working for cohesion, and what we can not have is a law that, when the next government takes office, is going to be repealed,” Rajoy told reporters.
Opinion polls suggested most Spaniards opposed the planned restrictions which would have made the country one of the most difficult in western Europe to terminate an unwanted pregnancy.
This after the previous socialist government had brought Spain into line.
The political left are celebrating.
“Finally they’ve failed to impose the individual morality of the Catholic Church on a society that is increasingly pluralistic, recognising the right of women to decide on motherhood,” said Gaspar Llamazares, of the United Left (IU).
Pro-Life campaigners – who marched last weekend calling on the government to comply with an election promise to restrict abortion – have now accused Rajoy of betrayal.
The prime minister says the government will instead look to tighten existing law so that young women of 16 and 17 seeking abortions must have parental consent.