The delusions of grandeur of Spain’s Justice Minister, Alberto Ruíz-Gallardón, never cease. This time Gallardón has been portraying himself as the defender of the rights of Spanish women. Yes, you read that correctly: the man who wants to implement a regressive anti-abortion draft bill, known as Gallardón’s law (la ley de Gallardón) in Spain claims this will be a positive step for women. Yesterday the Spanish daily El País revealed that the bill will finally be examined in congress in July. The opposition, Spain’s socialist party (PSOE), accused Rajoy’s conservative government of doing all it could to ensure discussion of the draft bill was delayed until after the European elections. Unsurprisingly, Gallardón vehemently denied the bill’s parliamentary process had been deliberately delayed and attempted to defuse criticism of his bill by turning the tables on the socialists. Indeed, the Justice Minister took pleasure in stating that Gallardón’s law is in effect the same as the Socialist abortion legislation in force from 1985 to 2010. “If this is a perverse law, your honor, I ask you: how is it possible that for 25 years it was in force in Spain and you did not protest it?” said Ruiz-Gallardón in reply to a question by the Socialist Party’s Vice Secretary General Elena Valenciano. “How is it possible that the last Socialist administration did not want to change it for eight years? And how is it possible that you did not even introduce a proposal for change in your last campaign platform?”
Gallardón went even further when he accused the Socialist Party of discriminating against women by considering them “criminals, as opposed to victims” since under the 1985 and 2010 Socialist abortion laws, women could face prison sentences. He concluded that the draft bill will have a positive gender impact as it will remove financial penalties and prison sentences for women who abort. Elena Valenciano called Gallardón “public enemy no 1 when it comes to Spanish women’s freedom” during yet another face-off with the Justice Minister in parliament in which she also claimed Gallardón was attempting to curry favour with the more conservative faction of his voters and party at the expense of women’s reproductive freedom.
Socialist MP Eduardo Madina spoke for the nation when he told Gallardón: “Do not listen to your party, listen to the Spanish people and tell us that your law will be no more“.