Spain Sees Half a Million Pro-Life Advocates Rally Against Abortion Expansion

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 30, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Spain Sees Half a Million Pro-Life Advocates Rally Against Abortion Expansion

by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 30
, 2009

Madrid, Spain ( — Hundreds of thousands of pro-life advocates rallied in Spain over the weekend against the government’s plans to expand abortions. The government has taken the first step to expand the nation’s already-lenient laws to essentially allow abortion on demand throughout pregnancy.

Under Spanish law abortion is technically illegal and abortion is only allowed in case the pregnancy supposedly is a threat to the physical or mental health of the woman (despite the fact abortions typically cause medical and mental health issues).

Though the law has been flouted by abortion centers and abortions have been routinely done throughout pregnancy, Prime Minister Jose’ Luis Rodriguez Zapatero wants the statute removed.

Tens of thousands of people have protested in Madrid on Sunday and they marched through the city and rallied outside the Equality Ministry, which has been leading the push for more abortions.

"Get out of here and let the children live," protesters shouted.

"The government wants to approve a free abortion law that leaves the unborn completely unprotected," Gador Joya, a spokeswoman for Right To Life, told the crowd. The changes "will only lead to more deaths and more suffering by thousands of women."

They asked for Bibiana Aido, the socialist government’s equality minister, to resign.

Media outlets put the numbers at 100,000 but organizers said as many as 500,000 people showed up to the rally.

The Catholic Church has launched a campaign against the legalization but Angeles Alvarez, spokeswoman for the State Network of Feminist Organisations said abortion advocates are planning a response.

"We are going to flood Spain with posters in response to the church’s alarmist campaign," she told AFP.

As a result of the lax laws, abortions are on the rise as there were 53,847 abortions done in Spain in 1998 but 112,138 last year, according to the Spanish health ministry. The figures also show that abortions increased more than 10 percent from 2006 to 2007.

Backers of the new law say it would make it so women don’t have to worry about being prosecuted if they run afoul of the current requirements.

Pro-life advocates say the laws are already too pro-abortion and they point to evidence showing abortion centers routinely filled out patient intake forms ahead of time without evaluating women beforehand.

As proof that abortion is already essentially legal on demand, the Institute for Family Policy released a report in 2007 showing an increase in the number of abortions of 90.5 percent. That puts Spain third, behind Belgium and Holland, with the greatest increase in the abortion rate during that time.

“If this trend continues, in 2010 one out of every five pregnancies (125,000 annually) will end in abortion,” IFP president Eduardo Hertfelder said in the report.

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