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Spanish Law Would Reverse Progress on Safe Abortion in Europe, New York Times Editorial Argues

Spanish Law Would Reverse Progress on Safe Abortion in Europe, New York Times Editorial Argues

January 22, 2014 — A proposed bill in Spain "would restrict reproductive rights so severely that many women would be forced to travel abroad to seek abortions or turn to illegal and risky procedures," a New York Times editorial states.

The bill would prohibit abortion except in instances of rape or "grave" endangerment to the woman's health, as determined by two independent medical professionals, according to the editorial. In addition, the law would require minors to obtain parental approval for an abortion, and it would no longer acknowledge fetal abnormalities as a qualified reason for an abortion.

If enacted, the bill would make Spain "the first member of the European Union to retreat from a decades-long trend toward safe and legal abortion," according to the editorial. The nation's conservative Popular Party is pushing the bill under the leadership of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.

The editorial notes that the bill faces "stiff resistance in Spain's Parliament," which in 2010 passed a bill liberalizing abortion access.

The editorial concludes, "Parliament can do even more to protect women in Spain, and all of Europe, by trying again to pass a report, narrowly defeated in December, that would designate a woman's right to abortion a fundamental human right" (New York Times, 1/17).