Spain's Justice Minister Resigns Following Prime Minister's Withdrawal of Abortion Reform

The Spanish government has finally decided to withdraw the abortion draft amendment thanks to pressure from civil society, forcing the minister of justice to resign.

After months of debates and constant pressure from civil society movements, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy announced on September 23 that the Spanish government had decided to withdraw the draft law on abortion, which was initially prepared by the Ministry of Justice. If enacted, this law would have been a step back from current legislation, introducing severe restrictions to women’s access to legal services and safe abortions and placing their lives and health at risk.

A few hours after the prime minister’s announcement, the minister of justice, Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón, declared publicly that he had tendered his resignation due to his failure to enact the draft law. Mr. Gallardón has been defined by many as among the worst justice ministers in the history of Spanish democracy. He leaves behind a weakened justice sector and numerous legislative reform drafts that curb freedoms, hinder access to justice and reduce significantly the legal guarantees citizens enjoy before the courts. Today, citizens in Spain find themselves more exposed to abuses of power while the rule of law has been weakened.