The Spanish conservative People’s Party soundly defeated their main socialist rival in Sunday’s European Parliament elections after making the socialists’ pro-abortion position a prominent issue.
The People’s Party (PP) appeared to be riding a wave of pro-life sentiment in Spain as voters expressed their dissatisfaction with the Spanish Socialist Worker’s Party’s (PSOE) plans to remove criminal penalties for all abortions up to 14 weeks, and to lower the age of consent for abortions to 16.
The People’s Party (PP) won 23 European Parliament seats with approximately 42.3% of the vote, while the ruling Spanish Socialist Worker’s Party (PSOE) won only 21, with about 38.5%. The general margin of victory was approximately 581,000 votes.
PP deputy and spokesman Soraya Saenz de Santamaria said following the vote that the PSOE’s pro-abortion bill has "brought about these results for the PSOE."
"The abortion law has created division and noise," she continued. "All of the polls have said that abortions for 16 year old girls without the knowledge of the parents is a barbarity, and as [Spanish President] Zapatero governs very much by polls, we will see if he is reading them."
PP representatives in the Spanish Congress plan to submit difficult questions about the abortion bill to Spain’s "Minister of Equality" Bibiana Aido Almagro, in the coming session, although it is unclear if the party intends to fight the law in its entirety or merely to modify its most controversial provision: the lowering of the age of consent.
Although historically the PP has been weak in its defense of the right to life, it has generally voiced opposition to the PSOE’s abortion law reform and has advocated enforcing the existing law. Its enforcement would likely eliminate a high percentage of the more than 100,000 abortions performed annually in Spain, which are often approved under false pretenses.