Thousands march in Spain against liberal abortion laws

29th March 2009, Comments 0 comments

Tens of thousands of anti-abortion demonstrators took to the streets of the Spanish capital on Sunday to protest government plans to liberalise the abortion laws.

MADRID - The protestors massed outside the Equality ministry, which is behind the draft law, and marched through central Madrid behind signs proclaiming: "There is no right to kill, there is the right to live" and "Women yes, abortion no".

Elderly people marched alongside young families with toddlers in pushchairs as the protest wound its way through the centre of Madrid.

Many wore red baseball caps distributed by pro-life groups as a symbol "of strength and the celebration of life."

The protest is the first in a series of demonstrations called to resist the plans by socialist Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero's government.

It wants to offer greater legal protection to 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 represented a threat to the physical or mental 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 was the better protection offered to threatened species of animals than to the unborn.


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