On Friday, Spain’s government approved an abortion law that limits womens' right to receive the procedure without restriction up to 14 weeks into their pregnancy. The new law will only allow for women to get an abortion in cases of rape or a threat to the expectant mothers health, according to AFP. The new legislation is strikingly similar to abortion regulations that existed in the country in 1985.
"The law is unnecessary, cynical and unfair because it damages women's autonomy," said Elena Valenciano, spokeswoman for the Social Party in Spain, according to The Independent.
Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, of the conservative Popular Party, says that the new abortion legislation is part of him keeping a promise to voters who elected him during his 2011 campaign. Part of his platform was a promise to tighten the longstanding abortion law in the country. Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon said that the law was approved with the health of both women and unborn children in mind. "What the government understands is that in the dramatic circumstances of an abortion the woman is not guilty. The woman is always the victim," said Ruiz-Gallardon, according to the Associate Press.
Despite the reasoning behind the tightening of the abortion law, pro-choice advocates were not happy. Demonstrators took to the streets of Madrid to express their opposition to the law. "These changes have more to do with politics and ideology than social realities today in Spain," Francisca García, of the Association of Accredited Clinics for the Termination of Pregnancy, a group that represents 98 percent of the country's abortion clinics, told The Guardian. "From all the data we've seen, the number of abortions in Spain is actually on the decline. The People's Party is trying to satisfy the rightwing factions of its party."
Abortion rights defenders are poised to continue their fight. The Socialist Party’s Elena Valenciano maintains that demonstrators will do everything in their power to “mobilize society against what is going to be an incomprehensible reduction in women's freedom."