20th April 2024
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Political fallout in Castilla y León over far-right’s anti-abortion rules

There’s been a political fallout in the region of Castilla y León following the anti-abortion protocols announced last week by the regional vice-president of the far-right Vox party, Juan García-Gallardo.

Vox have announced that they ‘will evaluate the government pact’ that they have with the right-wing People’s Party (PP) in the region, if the PP president doesn’t comply with the agreement on anti-abortion measures that they claim he agreed to in order to support his investiture.

Following elections in Castilla y León in February last year, Vox entered the regional government there as part of a coalition agreement with the PP, the first time since the dictatorship of Franco that the far-right had governed in a region.

‘We have reached an agreement with Vox that will allow us to establish a stable and solid government,’ said the region’s PP leader Alfonso Fernández Mañueco at the time, who found himself reinstated as president thanks to the deal. ALSO READ: Spain’s far-right Vox party forms part of regional government for first time.

Spain’s PSOE socialist party, who rule the central government with Pedro Sánchez as Prime Minister in a coalition with the left-wing Podemos group, immediately attacked the PP over the Castilla y León deal, denouncing it as ‘a pact of shame’.

Last week, García-Gallardo announced that the region would be implementing a set of pro-life measures to help prevent abortions, such as offering 4D ultrasounds and the chance for the parents to listen to the foetal heartbeat. Women’s rights groups, however, have since warned that any pregnant women who underwent the ‘foetal heartbeat control’ could suffer trauma. ALSO READ: Spain’s far-right introduce anti-abortion measures in Castilla y León.

García-Gallardo had insisted on Monday that the new anti-abortion protocol would enter into force that same day, although the Official Gazette of Castilla y León has not included anything to that effect and doctors haven’t received any different instructions.

After threats from the central government to take legal action to stop the measures coming into action, stating that the new rules announced by the region ‘violate or impair the rights regulated’ in Spain’s abortion law, the PP president Mañueco has also backtracked on the issue.

‘We will not allow a single step back in terms of women’s rights,’ said Spanish Health Minister Carolina Darias on Monday in an interview with broadcaster Cadena Ser. She underlined that what Vox announced ‘goes against the law and exists to make women feel guilty’.

On Monday, Mañueco tried to strike a balance between pushing back against the far-right and the progressive government in Madrid as the country gears up for a major election year.

‘We will not force doctors to do anything and we will not force pregnant women to do anything,’ said Mañueco, contradicting his vice president, García-Gallardo, who had insisted that the new rules would be ‘mandatory’ and ‘imperative’. Mañueco denied that care of pregnant women would be modified.

‘We have not contemplated offering coercive measures to pregnant women, and we will not accept the central government using women to gain political points,’ he added.

Image captured in April 2022 of the first meeting of the Junta of Castilla y Leon, with PP president Alfonso Fernández Mañueco, and Juan García-Gallardo.

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