My body, my rights – Voluntary termination of pregnancy in Spain

Policy Study


Mariano Rajoy’s conservative Spanish government is trying to revise the law on the voluntary termination of pregnancy (VTP) adopted in 2010 by his socialist predecessor, José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, to make it even more restrictive than the first Spanish law on VTP, the 1985 law.  The draft reform, which removes women’s freedom to choose to terminate their pregnancy in the first 14 weeks of gestation, would allow for abortion in only two specific circumstances: rape or a serious threat to the life or physical or psychological health of the woman.  Abortion in the case of a malformation of the foetus would no longer be authorised.

This reform bill, which has aroused controversy in Spain and beyond, would mean stepping back 30 years in time in terms of women’s rights, and moving against the tide of the gradual modernisation of Spanish society since its transition to democracy.  The proposal was immediately met with repeated rejection, both domestic and international, while women’s associations and the Spanish and European political left have called for demonstrations to protest against the reform proposals. PES Women has been in particularly engaged, through the close follow up of the 2010 campaign, My body, my rights.

To gain a proper understanding of the matter, it is worth first looking at the proposed reforms against the backdrop of social and political change in Spain since its transition to democracy.  It is then necessary to analyse fully both the content and scope of the reform. Finally, it is important to examine the different responses, current and future, to this initiative by the Rajoy government, taking into account the different steps the bill will pass through.

Fondation Jean-Jaurès
PES Women
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