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Spaniards hold anti-abortion protest in Madrid

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Anti-abortion supporters try to display a banner with air balloons reading “Every life matters” during a march in Madrid.

Tens of thousands of people have held a rally in the Spanish capital city of Madrid, calling on the government to revive a plan to limit women’s access to abortion.

The protesters from across the country marched through the city on Saturday and waved white flags with the slogan “Every life counts.”

They also whistled irritably as they passed by the headquarters of the ruling Popular Party.

Tightening Spain’s abortion law was one of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s promises before he was elected in 2011. However he dropped the plan last September due to differences within his own party.

The demonstrators, who were furious at the retreat, threatened to punish his government in next year elections if it fails to restrict abortion.

“Rajoy, we may not vote,” read a huge white banner at Saturday’s march.

“I am disappointed. This may change the vote,” said Jose Vicente Romero, 50, a protester who travelled several hours from Alicante with a group from his church, adding, “Abortion is not a right. Abortion is a tragedy.”

A reform plan, formulated by former justice minister, Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon, would have put an end to a woman’s right to freely choose an abortion up to 14 weeks of pregnancy.

Ruiz-Gallardon had proposed to allow abortion only in cases of rape reported to the police, or a medically certified threat to the mother’s physical or psychological health.

The anti-abortion groups that organized the demonstration urged the government to restore the reform plan and improve adoption procedures.

Abandoning the plan “would confirm the total lack of protection for the two victims of abortion: the unborn child, who lacks judicial protection, and the mother, who is given no alternative,” they wrote in a manifesto.


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