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Vol. 78/No. 6      February 17, 2014

(front page)
Tens of thousands march in Spain
to defend women’s right to abortion

Reuters/Andrea Comas
Feb. 1 demonstration in Madrid against Spanish government plan to make abortion illegal.

In what the daily El País called “one of the largest mobilizations in memory in support of the right to abortion” in Spain, tens of thousands demonstrated in Madrid Feb. 1. “Many women — young and old — but also many men” marched, the paper said, to protest plans by the ruling People’s Party to overturn a 2010 law that decriminalized abortion.

Participants came from across Spain as well as Portugal, France and other parts of Europe. Spain’s two main union federations organized large contingents.

A law passed in 2010 legalized abortions during the first 14 weeks of pregnancy, with a three-day waiting period.

In 1985 abortion was made legal in cases of “grave risk” to the physical or mental health of the woman; in cases of rape for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy; and when fetal defects are found up through the 22nd week. Before 1985 it was illegal except when necessary to save a woman’s life.

The current People’s Party-backed bill would permit abortion only in cases of rape or grave health risk. For rapes the procedure would be allowed only during the first 14 weeks of pregnancy and would require a seven-day waiting period and approval from three doctors.

“The proposed law is worse than the 1985 one,” María Jesús Girona Magraner, president of the Federation of Young Women, said by phone from Madrid Feb. 3. “It doesn’t allow abortion even if the fetus is deformed.”

Even some People’s Party politicians have taken their distance from the proposed anti-abortion bill. It “interferes with personal boundaries and doesn’t solve anything,” said Madrid deputy Isabel Díaz Ayuso.

“When abortion was illegal women who had the means went to London,” Magraner said. “Other women went to illegal clinics with precarious unsanitary conditions. We’re not going to stop fighting until we defeat this bill. The right to choose is a human right.”

The leaflet for a pro-choice demonstration of thousands in Valladolid Jan. 31 called for “the complete decriminalization of elective abortions.”
Related articles:
Rally in Texas protests new curbs on right to abortion
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