Like many countries, Spain experiences increasing pressure coming from right-wing parties due to the economic crisis. Minister Mariano Rajoy has introduced the tightening of abortion laws, meaning an almost total ban on abortion except in the case of rape or severe danger of the woman’s mental or physical state. This proposal comes from the Partido Popular, a conservative center-right party, which has been accused of conforming excessively to the Catholic Church.
Although Parliament will most likely vote in favour of this proposal, it does not reflect in any way the public opinion. According to polls held among the public, almost 80 percent of the Spaniards strongly oppose tightening abortion laws and consider it to be one of the fundamental rights of women.
However radical this might seem, it most likely represents an underlying cry for stability and restoration of Spanish values in times of globalization and economic roaring. Perhaps not that much of a curious development since Spain transformed itself from a Catholic dictatorship led by general Franco to a liberal member of the European Union, legalizing gay-marriage as one of the first countries in the EU. So the real debate refers to whether the freedoms accompanying the 1980 democratic transit are really progress or a destruction of traditional Spanish values.
However radical this seems, it represents an underlying cry for stability and restoration of Spanish values.
Having such a catholic culture and history it can sometimes be hard to adjust to global progress and changes and a step back might be taken to re-evaluate what a country actually stands for. Culture and tradition are vested deeply and not easily abandoned. Although allowing an almost total ban on abortion would of course be a deprivation of fundamental human rights, it does point us to the fact that no matter how much effort we put into European integration and ‘streamlining’ policies, the fact still remains that every country has a history of traditions and values that will always leave its mark on the way of conducting politics.
So perhaps we should try to see this as a celebration of Europe’s diversity and as a sign that countries do not follow the trend of globalization blindly. And for all the women stuck with an unwanted foetus in their bellies – they can always cross the border.