Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Madrid on Saturday, calling on the Government to reform the country’s abortion law.
Protestors from across the country were responding to the Prime Minister’s decision to drop plans which would tighten Spain’s liberal abortion laws. The law currently allows abortion on demand up to 14 weeks into a pregnancy.
Last year, the Spanish Government unveiled a Bill to restrict abortion to cases where the pregnancy endangers the mother’s psychological or physical health, or in cases of rape. They performed a U-turn after the Government failed to agree on the issue.
The protestors marched through the city waving white flags with the slogan “Every life counts”, passing by the headquarters of the ruling Popular Party.
They also held up a banner which addressed the Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy directly, threatening to punish his party at next year’s election if it fails to restrict abortion.
The pro-life groups that organised the protest have produced a manifesto which says the decision confirms, “the total lack of protection for the two victims of abortion: the unborn child, who lacks judicial protection, and the mother, who is given no alternative”.
Jose Vicente Romero, who travelled for several hours to attend the protest, said: “Abortion is not a right. Abortion is a tragedy.”
At the end of September, Prime Minister Rajoy claimed he had taken “the most sensible decision” in not tightening the law.
The architect of the Bill, Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon, announced his resignation as justice minister hours after Rajoy’s remarks.
A source close to the Spanish Government said the reforms would be “suicidal in an election year”, according to The Times.
Gador Joya, of pro-life group Right to Life, has said: “If the government does not complete its promises it will be high treason to the Spanish people”.
The Government is now pursuing a partial reform by seeking to prevent 16 and 17-year-olds from having an abortion without parental consent.