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Proposed abortion restrictions in Spain face backlash in Europe

Jan. 20, 2014 at 9:00 AM   |   Comments

MADRID, Jan. 20 (UPI) -- Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's proposal to enact one of the toughest abortion laws in Europe has drawn a backlash from European Parliament members.

If approved, Rajoy's proposal would allow a woman to end a pregnancy when her life is in danger or is a result of a rape and doesn't permit an abortion when the fetus is deformed, the New York Times reported Sunday. An abortion performed as the result of rape must be performed within 12 weeks.

On Sunday, demonstrators in heavily Catholic Spain marched in Madrid to protest the government's healthcare cuts and the abortion proposal introduced in December by Rajoy, a Catholic and leader of the conservative Popular Party.

"Those who give birth should be deciding," Pilar Gomez, a health center administrator, told the Times.

The current abortion law, enacted during the previous Socialist administration, allows women to terminate a pregnancy within the first 14 weeks and beyond that window if there are life-threatening problems related to the fetus.

European Parliament members called on Spain to scrap its plans to restrict abortions, ThinkSpain reported.

"If a woman is capable of running the German state, she is capable of making decisions about her own body," Dutch Liberal member Sophie In't Veld said, speaking of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

"This law is attempting to impose the moral beliefs of part of the population upon all women in Spain," said Iratxe Garcia, a Socialist member from Spain.

In Ireland, another heavily Catholic country, a law sets out for the first time the conditions under which abortions would be allowed. The law, prompted in part by the death of a woman who was denied an abortion, allows abortions when the mother's life is threatened.

Malta is the only European Union country that has a total abortion ban.

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