Spain, a country with an unemployment rate of 26 percent that had to be bailed out by the European Union to a tune of $125 billion in 2012, has apparently decided that the most urgent issue facing the country is abortion. Specifically, women not being able to have them.
Currently, Spain allows women to have abortions up to their 14th week of pregnancy and after that if there are life-threatening problems. That law was passed in 2010 -- before that, abortion was only allowed in cases of rape or incest, if the woman's life was in danger, or if the fetus had physical or mental abnormalities.
But 2010 is a long time ago, and another political party is now in power. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, leader of the People's Party, proposed a bill that would "reform" the 2010 abortion law, banning abortions except in special cases.
The bill caused a major outcry in Spain, where 70 to 80 percent of the population are opposed to the new bill. Sixty-eight percent of People's Party voters are pro-choice, according to one poll. Thousands protested the bill in Madrid and hundreds of women across the country have symbolically tried to register their bodies in the Commercial Registry.
"Activists explained to confused bureaucrats that they wanted official certification that their bodies belong to them," the Guardian reported.
The Socialist Party tried to defeat the bill with a secret ballot today, hoping that People's Party members might break ranks if they thought their party wouldn't find out. They didn't. One hundred and fifty-one members of Parliament voted against the proposed changes while 183 voted for them. While the bill has not yet passed, the failed secret ballot shows that it almost certainly will.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.