The Spanish government has approved a new abortion law which will make it much more difficult for women to get an abortion in the country.
The new law, which is almost certain to be passed in the Congress given that the ruling right Popular Party has a comfortable majority, ends women's rights to ask for an abortion in the first 14 weeks of their pregnancy, Xinhua reported, citing Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz Gallardon who confirmed it after a cabinet press conference.
The law also removes the right to abort if the foetus is shown to be malformed, and reduces the only two reasons for a woman to be able to have an abortion to whether or not her health would be placed in jeopardy by continuing the pregnancy, or if she was pregnant as the result of having been raped.
In order for a women's heath to be shown to be at risk, she will need to provide a paper signed by two specialists to show that this is indeed the case.
This is a radical tightening of the current law, which allows abortions without any restriction until the 14th week of pregnancy and up to 22 weeks of the foetus is shown to be seriously deformed.
Meanwhile, girls aged 16 and 17 will need the permission of their parents or tutor in order to proceed with an abortion, something the previous Socialist government had done away with in 2010.
Gallardon said the new law would provide "defence both for the protection of the life of the unborn child and women's rights". He insisted the law would "always act in the interests of women", who will not be criminalised if they undergo an abortion.
The opposition and women's rights groups strongly disagree with the position of the government with pro-choice campaigners, saying the new law will take women's rights in Spain back 30 years to the mid-1980's. Indeed the new law is more restrictive than the 1985 abortion law passed in Spain.