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Members of the European Parliament show their concern about the Spanish Draft Bill on Abortion Right

[Brussels, 17 January 2014] During this week, Members of the European Parliament (EP) from different political groups have stood up shown their concerns about the recent developments in Spain regarding sexual and reproductive health and rights.

On behalf of the S&D group, Iratxe Garcia (Spain) and Hannes Swoboda (Austria, President of the S&D group at the EP) participated in a press conference at the European Parliament in which they show its oposition against the Spanish government’s plan to abolish the right to abortion”. MEP Iratxe Garcia said that "the proposed draft bill goes against women’s freedom, her dignity and the right to decide on their maternity, and means a serious step backwards in the historical women’s struggle for equality in Spain and the EU”. Furthermore, Iraxte Garcia explained, “the law is creating discrimination. Women who can afford it will be able to go abroad to abort whereas the poorest women will end up risking backstreet abortions”. The press release can be downloaded here. MEP Edite Estrela (Portugal), the author of a EP draft resolution on sexual and reproductive rights, stressed that "sexual and reproductive health is not a question of culture. It is a fundamental right – freedom, dignity and respect for women”.

The S&D group also promoted a debate in the European Parliament, which took place on Thursday, regarding the proposed changes to Spain’s abortion law.

The Liberals and Democrats group in the European Parliament (ALDE) has also issued a press release in which ALDE MEPs show their strong opposition to the changes to Spain’s abortion law. MEP Izaskun Bilbao (Spain) said that “the proposed law goes against the fundamental right of all women to freely decide when and under what circumstances they want to have children”. MEP Izaskun Bilbao has also warned that the new draft bill will pose “serious health risks to women: People with fewer resources will return to clandestine abortion clinics that usually lack adequate technical and hygienic conditions”. MEP Sophie in’t Veld (Netherlands) who chairs the European Parliament Working Group on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (EPWG) has affirmed that "women should be able to freely decide on their Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR). Spain is travelling back in time when restricting access to safe and legal abortion services”.

The group of the European United Left/Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) has also organised this week a press release and a demonstrationin which several MEP showed their support to the Spanish women and also their concerns about the rise in discrimination against women when it comes to sexual and reproductive health and rights in Europe. GUE/NGL MEPs have made a call to all the europarliamentarians to join forces to defend the right to self-determination and bodily integrity. Mickael Gustafsson (Sweden, GUE, President of the FEMM Committee), who had sent last week a letter to all parliament members expressing "great concern" over the proposed law, said that despite the subsidiarity principle, “as politicians when there are violations of human rights we have a duty to speak out, regardless of whether these violations take place in Spain or elsewhere in the world but for women all across the planet”.

On its side, the European Women’s Lobby has planned a European Week of Action on the week of the 27 of January to support the women in Spain and the abortion rights in Europe. See more information here.

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