Social Action Now!

An objective view to worldwide social issues

New abortion law in Spain: 30 years back in History

Fiona Govan is an English journalist working for The Telegraph and collaborating with many other media in Europe, she has written an article about the new abortion law which is going to be approved by the Popular party in some months and is going to make Spain travel 30 years back in History. As she explains in her article, Spain’s conservative government has agreed to ban women from opting freely for abortions, outraging pro-choice campaigners who say the move will take the country back to the 1980s. Of course she is not the only one alarmed by this phenomenon, hundreds of journalists from every corner in Europe are warning the society about the danger this new law will have for Spanish women.

 

She believes that this measure has been taken by the government under pressure of the Catholic Church and with the support of some members of the Government who are extremely religious and conservative. She clarifies how the draft bill approved by the cabinet on Friday will ensure that abortion is only allowed in the case of rape, serious fetal deformity or if the pregnancy presents a grave mental or physical health risk to the mother. “This was in our electoral program,” Mr Rajoy told reporters yesterday in Brussels, where he was attending an EU summit. But she also claims that it is known by everyone that PP had promised in its manifesto for the elections in 2011 that they will apply the 2010 law on this issue, which said that abortion without restrictions was permitted until the 14th week of pregnancy.

Many journalists and experts think that the impact of this new legislation will be hard to avoid, given it will make abortion, as it was prior to 1985 in Spain, an offense – even if the PP insists to emphasize that women who abort will not be punished (every expert speaking about this does not agree with this, of course). Doctors, though, carrying out abortions considered illegal face up to three years in prison.

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A huge part of Spanish society is roughly against this new law, and they have shown their opposition in the last days with a lot of demonstrations in the streets of the capital, Madrid and in many other cities as Bilbao, Barcelona or Málaga. Three protesters were arrested last Friday when hundreds gathered outside government buildings in Madrid and burnt an effigy of Minister of Justice Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón, who as it has already been said, is masterminding this law. All of the principal opposition parties have condemned the proposed new legislation. The Socialist Party’s spokeswoman Elena Valenciano stated: “The law is unnecessary, cynical and unfair because it damages women’s autonomy.” Some claimed the new law, which is likely to pass as the conservative Popular Party have a clear majority in parliament, would lead to “abortion tourism” with women forced to travel abroad for termination or risk their health in illegal clinics. “The changes represent a reversal of our right to decide, which will take us back to another era”, said Feminist Coordinator, an umbrella organization for women’s rights groups, in a statement.

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As Rafael J. Alvarez explains in his article, PSOE party is asking for help to the European Union in order to declare nule this law. They are trying to convince European government that this law will create enormous problems for Spanish women.

References:

–          Alasdair Foteringham (December 2013),”New hardline abortion law prompts protest across Spain” http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/new-hardline-abortion-law-prompts-protests-across-spain-9020190.html. Retrieved on December 2013

 

–          Maria R. Sahuquillo /  Fernando Garea  (May 2013) “Abortion: a trip back in time” http://elpais.com/elpais/2013/05/08/inenglish/1368013670_006955.html. Retrieved on December 2013

 

–          Rafael J. Alvarez (December 2013) “El PSOE inicia hoy una “llamada de socorro europea”  antiley del aborto” http://www.elmundo.es/espana/2013/12/26/52bb53a0268e3ea8648b458e.html. Retrieved on December 2013

 

–          Fiona Govan (December 2013), “ Spain approves new restrictive abortion law” http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/spain/10531811/Spain-approves-new-restrictive-abortion-law.html. Retrieved on December 2013

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Spain’s “Lost Generation”

Reporters as Fatima Bañez and Leslie J. López and so many others have used the example of Benjamín Serra Bosh to illustrate Spain’s lost generation due to the lack of job opportunities and the discouraging economic situation. In 2013, the case of Benjamín Serra Bosch has become known all over the world, he is a Spanish guy with two bachelor degrees and one master who works cleaning lavatories in a very wellknown coffee shop in London ( the one with the green logo). He gained thousands of followers through the social networks when he claimed about the lack of job opportunities for young people in Spain, using his own case as an example.

I received distinctions for both my degrees and now I clean S********* in a foreign country” posted Serra on his Twitter account . His message became nearly viral, reaching every corner in the planet and receiving thousands of solidarity messages.

Spain is suffering the deepest economic crisis in its recent history, it is a country where the unemployment rate among young people has reached the terrifying number of 57%,(the total unemployment rate is up to 26%) and where many emancipated youngsters, most of them with at least a degree or higher education, have been obliged to come back to their parent’s house because they couldn’t afford their own place. The number of Spaniards going abroad looking for a job has doubled in the last five years since the economic crisis began, according to official statistics, more than 60,000 people moved abroad during 2012.

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Those Spanish people who decide to emigrate searching for better labor conditions and job opportunities have usually two principal destinations, Central and Northern Europe and South America. In one hand, United Kingdom and Germany ( as well as some other northern European countries) attract Spaniards because of the easy conections with the country and the free circulation of people among the european countries. On the other hand, South America has a common language and some of the main emerging economies globally speaking such as Peru, Chile, Panama and Brazil.

They tell we are a lost generation but it is more like we’re a paralyzed generation” said Mario, one of the thousands of people attending the demonstration that took place in Madrid. He explains how the current situation has been caused by politicians who knew that Spanish economy was going to crash because of the real estate bubble, and they did nothing because they were becoming more and more rich every day. Spanish economy was relying so much on construction and that is why we are one of the countries suffering the crisis in a harder way. He claims that Spain is paralyzed and does not know how to react.

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This Spanish lost generation is forced to move away from their hometown, overcome language barriers (as we all know, language skills are not one of the most powerful assets that the Spanish average person has) and starting up from the ground in a new place. We are becaming more courageous than ever and taking risks that we had never imagined we would be taking. Our country is losing a huge amount of people, those known as “the lost generation”. This situation is not sustainable in the long term because if there is no young people working in the country, and mantaining the tax income for the government, there will be no money  to afford tomorrow’s retirements.

References:

Jonathan BLITZER ( May 2013)”Spain’s lost generation: Young, jobless and desperate”  http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-215_162-57443719/ Retrieved on November 2013

Fátima MARTINEZ/ Leslie J. LOPEZ (June 2013) “Spain’s Lost Generation — The exodus of young Spanish professionals in search of work and a future” http://latinalista.com/2013/06/spains-lost-generation-the-exodus-of-spanish-youth-in-search-of-work  Retrieved on November 2013

Giles TREMLETT “Spain’s lost generation of graduates join wave of migrants in search of jobs” (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/mar/28/new-europe-spain-graduates-emigrate Retrieved on November 2013

Ben SILLS (March 2012)”Spain’s Lost Generation Looks Abroad” http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-03-29/spains-lost-generation-looks-abroad Retrieved on November 2013