Spain’s two main political parties are playing pingpong with women’s reproductive rights. It seems every time the right-wing Partido Popular comes into power, it undoes everything the leftist Partido Socialista Obrero Español accomplished during its term. This time, with support from the Catholic Church, it’s decided to take the country backward by criminalizing abortion with a law that was drafted in December, and is set to pass through the PP dominated parliament. Under the regressive legislation, abortions would be illegal in most cases, including fetal deformity, and would be performed only in cases involving rape or extreme risk to the woman’s health, as long as the dangers are confirmed by two doctors. In addition, 16- and 17-year-olds would now require signed permission from their parents.

Naturally, women and men from all over Spain are taking to the streets to voice their fury over such ignorant measures, which many believe take them back to Franco’s times. The BBC reports:

Thousands of Spaniards have protested in Madrid against a draft law backed by the government that would restrict the right to abortion.

Activists carried banners saying “Allow mothers to decide” and “Deciding makes us free”…

Correspondents say Saturday’s demonstration was one of the largest since Spain’s centre-right government backed the new legislation in December….

“I came because I think this takes our country back many years regarding women’s rights, criminalising something that shouldn’t be a crime,” said demonstrator Ana Alonso.

“We overcame this a long time ago and we have a right to have abortion performed under proper conditions without risking women’s lives and their health.”

Currently women have the right to abort up to the 14th week of pregnancy, rising to 22 weeks in case of foetal deformities.

The focus on abortion during the current sociopolitical climate seems like a ploy by increasingly unpopular Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to distract the ailing population from such things as the immense economic crisis and scandals plaguing his Partido Popular.

—Posted by Natasha Hakimi

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