On Friday, the Spanish antiabortion draft bill, know unofficially as Gallardón’s Law, and officially as The organic law for the protection of the life of the conceived and the rights of the pregnant woman (whatever), will be taken to parliament.
Thousands upon thousands of people have marched the streets not just in Spain but all over Europe, North and South America time and time again to protest this law since it was announced in December 2013. Prochoice campaigners worldwide have tirelessly told Gallardón and his government that women should be the ones to decide if and when they want to become mothers. Spanish citizens the length and the breadth of the country also responded to surveys saying they were not happy with the proposed abortion reform. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are just two of the international organisations that have publicly condemned the reform. But did Gallardón listen? Of course he didn’t. He replied by saying that “no insult” would deter him in his mission to protect the rights of the unborn.
And now an article in The Irish Times, citing government sources via the Spanish daily El País, claims that the Spanish government has bowed to the pressure of the protests by implementing changes in the bill that will allow women to terminate pregnancies when the foetus presents abnormalities. There may be some gullible enough to believe Rajoy’s government, firstly, cares one iota about what its citizens want, secondly, has genuinely listened to the voices of the people and, finally, is willing to negotiate the terms of the reform. Indeed, prochoice campaigners and activists saw this concession coming along for miles. It was always Gallardón’s strategy to present the bill in its most radical form and to then eliminate its more controversial aspects thus appeasing less radical Partido Popular voters and members within the party and fooling some into believing he’s not such a bad chap after all. With headlines such as this: Spain’s abortion legislation ‘changed after protests’, Gallardón’s ploy seems to be having its intended effect.