Anti-abortion groups announce mass rally in Madrid

27th March 2009, Comments 0 comments

The first of a number of rallies to protest against liberalisation of abortion law is expecting a turnout of more than 100,000 people on Sunday.

MADRID – More than 100,000 people are expected in Madrid on Sunday at the first of a number of rallies to protest plans by the Spanish government to liberalise the abortion law, organisers said.

"We are expecting more than 100,000 people, and hoping for between 150,000 and 200,000," said Victor Gago, spokesman for the anti-abortion organisation HazteOir (Make Yourself Heard).

He said T-shirts and caps would be distributed during the protest in central Madrid, with the 100,000-euro cost of the rally being covered by private donations.

Another group, Provida, said it would be the first of a number of big demonstrations against plans by the Socialist government to offer greater legal protection for women who wish to have an abortion and doctors who carry out the procedure.

Spain decriminalised abortion in 1985 but only for certain cases: up to 12 weeks of pregnancy after a rape; up to 22 weeks in the case of malformation of the foetus; and at any point if the pregnancy represents a threat to the physical or mental health of the woman.

The majority of abortions in Spain takes place in private clinics and are justified on the grounds that the pregnancy posed a "psychological risk" for the health of the woman.

Earlier this month a government-appointed panel of experts recommended that Spain ease its restrictions on abortion and allow the procedure on demand up to 14 weeks into a pregnancy.

Spain's Catholic Church, which has clashed with government before over the legalisation of gay marriage, has also condemned the proposed new law.

Last week, it announced a new anti-abortion campaign that condemns what it said is the better protection offered to threatened species of animals than to the unborn.

AFP / Expatica

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