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Spain Proposes 1st EU Bill to Reverse Legalized Abortion

Dec. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Spain is set to become the first European Union member to reverse a decision to legalize abortion after Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy proposed outlawing terminations that have been permitted since 2010.

“This was in our electoral program,” Rajoy told reporters in Brussels. Spain’s Cabinet approved the draft law today, Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria told reporters in Madrid.

Rajoy is tapping into the base of his People’s Party, whose popularity has waned amid the deepest slump in Spain’s democratic history. Unemployment remains above 25 percent after three years of tax increases and budget cuts.

“The PP knew it wanted to do this and now seems to be the moment to reap maximum benefit at the least cost,” Ken Dubin, a political scientist at IE business school in Madrid and Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, in the U.K., said in a telephone interview. “It’s further away from the election, enough not to alienate non true believers, and close enough to activate the key PP constituency at a moment when support could be flagging.”

Rajoy said he wants to restore legislation passed in 1985 which created permissible exceptions, such as preserving the health of the mother. Under Socialist Premier Jose Luis Zapatero, women’s “freely planned maternity rights” were recognized, enabling them to terminate their pregnancy until the end of its 14th week.

Spain would be the first country in the 28-member EU to backpedal after legalizing abortion. According to data published by the United Nations, Malta, Ireland, Poland, Finland, the U.K., Cyprus and Luxemburg are the only nations that still punish women for ending pregnancy save in specified cases.

To contact the reporter on this story: Angeline Benoit in Madrid at abenoit4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Craig Stirling at cstirling1@bloomberg.net; James Hertling at jhertling@bloomberg.net

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