New hardline abortion law prompts protests across Spain

Women's organisations predict the re-emergence of 'abortion tourism', with many travelling to Britain for operations

Madrid

Countrywide protests erupted in Spain early this weekend over the government's approval of a new hardline abortion law that will permit the procedure only in cases of rape, serious mental or physical risks to the mother, or life-threatening foetal deformities.

Three protesters were arrested on Friday when hundreds gathered outside government buildings in Madrid and burnt an effigy of Minister of Justice Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon, who masterminded the law.

Other demonstrations were organised in about 20 other cities including Bilbao, Malaga and Barcelona. Spain's Socialist Party has already announced further protests. Spain's Femen movement – who had three members arrested in Madrid's parliament in October when they staged a topless protest and interrupted Mr Ruiz-Gallardon with cries of "Abortion is sacred" – warned on Twitter: "If they take away our right to decide, we'll have to abort morality, the Church and everything that limits our freedom."

The ruling Partido Popular (PP) had promised in its manifesto for the 2011 election that it would do away with current legislation, passed in 2010, that permits abortion without restrictions until the 14th week of pregnancy.

However, with 81 per cent of Spaniards saying in a 2012 poll they were opposed to changes to Spain's abortion laws, and 65 per cent of PP voters rejecting plans to make abortion for foetal deformities illegal, the government has been notably jittery about its planned reforms.

The impact of the new legislation will be hard to avoid, given it will make abortion, as it was prior to 1985 in Spain, an offence – even if the PP was at pains to emphasise that women who abort will not be punished should they break the new laws. Doctors, though, carrying out abortions considered illegal face up to three years in prison.

All of the principal opposition parties have condemned the proposed new legislation. The Socialist Party's spokeswoman Elena Valenciano stated: "The law is unnecessary, cynical and unfair because it damages women's autonomy."

Women's organisations predicted the re-emergence of "abortion tourism", with many travelling to Britain for operations.

Since the more liberal 2010 laws were passed, the number of abortions in Spain has barely increased – up by just over 5,000 to 118,359 in 2011.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

    £28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

    Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

    £16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

    Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

    £16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

    Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

    £17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

    Day In a Page

    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

    Everyone is talking about The Trews

    Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
    'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

    'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

    British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
    Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

    Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

    Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
    14 best kids' hoodies

    14 best kids' hoodies

    Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

    The acceptable face of the Emirates

    Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk