What happened answers to pure political reasons. The conservative Popular Party, in power since 2012, has two main problems: first, its hard line lost Cardenal Rouco, which means that the church has a smaller role in Spanish politics today. Second, after the European elections, the Spanish Popular Party lost 10 points and now needs to look for votes in the center.
Passing Mr Gallardón’s proposed bill, which was a near-ban of abortion, would have meant losing lots of support in the polls. The PP believed that even if the most conservative Spaniards would be outraged, that will only hold public attention for a while. But in the next general elections those people will have no other choice but to vote for the Popular Party again.
The relationship between Mr Rajoy and Mr Gallardon has been a difficult one. They are almost the same age -Rajoy is only three years older- , both have legal background and started in politics at the same time.
President Rajoy has the ability and the power to burn their competitors. This crisis shows that he can be cold and let members of his team go. Some believe the Economy minister Luis de Guindos could be next, after he failed getting a job at the Eurogroup.
As for the social implications, Spaniards are completely over the abortion issue since 1985, when it was first decriminalized for cases of malformed fetuses, rape or potential physical or psychological damage for the mother. In 2010 abortions were allowed in all cases within 14 weeks of conception, and after up to 22 weeks in cases of severe abnormalities.
Only 15-20% of the population are in favor of a total ban. People have other problems to worry about, like the economic crisis. Having said that, with 120,000 abortions a year, we should think about what is going on. If we were serious we should tackle this problem with social integration and family policies.