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.
The government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, under pressure from the Catholic Church, ruled to roll back reforms made under the previous socialist government that allowed terminations without restrictions until the 14th week of pregnancy.
A draft bill approved by the cabinet will ensure that abortion is allowed only in the case of rape, serious foetal deformity or if the pregnancy presents a grave mental or physical health risk to the mother.
The tightening of the abortion law has been fiercely resisted by opposition parties as well as women's groups across Spain who said that it set back women's rights to the dark days of the dictatorship of General Francisco Franco.
"The changes represent a reversal of our right to decide, which will take us back to another era," said Feminist Co-ordinator, an umbrella organisation for women's rights groups.
Protests were called against the decision. "We are not going back 30 years and above all we are not going to resign ourselves, give up or be intimidated," said Elena Valenciano, the deputy leader of the socialist opposition party. (© Daily Telegraph, London)