Spain protesters rally against tougher abortion law

Women have taken to the streets over the draft law, as Tom Burridge reports

Related Stories

Thousands of Spaniards have protested in Madrid against a draft law backed by the government that would restrict the right to abortion.

Activists carried banners saying "Allow mothers to decide" and "Deciding makes us free".

The law would limit abortion to cases of rape, and instances where the health of the mother was at serious risk.

Under current legislation, any woman can have an abortion within the first 14 weeks of becoming pregnant.

'Risking women's lives'

Correspondents say Saturday's demonstration was one of the largest since Spain's centre-right government backed the new legislation in December.

Supported by several Spanish opposition parties, protesters called on Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon, who drafted the law, to resign.

"I came because I think this takes our country back many years regarding women's rights, criminalising something that shouldn't be a crime," said demonstrator Ana Alonso.

"We overcame this a long time ago and we have a right to have abortion performed under proper conditions without risking women's lives and their health."

Demonstrators hold a figure of Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon dressed up as a vampire during a protest against a reform of Spain's abortion law in Madrid on 1 February 2014. Demonstrators carried a figure of the justice minister dressed up as a vampire
A woman with a Venus symbol on her cheek takes part in a protest against a reform of the Spain's abortion law in Madrid on 1 February 2014. Women's groups travelled from across Spain and other countries to take part
Thousands of people march to protest the Spanish government's plan to limit abortions, in Madrid February 1, 2014 Correspondents say this was one of the biggest demonstrations against the proposals

The new law says early termination is no longer a right, and would only be allowed in cases of rape or when two doctors judge the mother's health to be at serious risk.

Currently women have the right to abort up to the 14th week of pregnancy, rising to 22 weeks in case of foetal deformities.

The current law, brought in by Spain's previous Socialist government in 2010, was opposed by the Catholic Church and conservative groups.

They say abortion law should not be based on a woman's right to decide, but the right to life of the unborn child.

The ruling Popular Party made changing the law one of its main promises in its 2011 election campaign.

The opposition Socialist Party has warned that the measure would send women into dangerous backstreet clinics for abortions.

The law still needs approval of parliament but is expected to pass because the Popular Party has a large majority.

More on This Story

Related Stories

From other news sites

More Europe stories



  • Atletico's Diego Godin celebrates his goal with teammate David VillaWeek in pictures

    Selection of the best news photographs from around the world

  • Susanne du ToitTop 10 Tips

    Portrait painter Susanne du Toit on being an artist

  • StampsPost independence

    Will stamps get cheaper if Scots go it alone?

  • Rhea10 things

    Rhea birds can be extremely dangerous, plus other factlets

  • Plane at Shannon airportShannon's call

    The airport that hosted a roll-call of presidents

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.