On Friday last week, Spain’s government approved an abortion law that limits womens’ right to receive the procedure without restriction up to 14 weeks into their pregnancy. The new law will only allow for women to get an abortion in cases of rape or a threat to the expectant mothers health. The new legislation is strikingly similar to abortion regulations that existed in the country in 1985.
Demonstrators took to the streets of Madrid to express their opposition to the law. “These changes have more to do with politics and ideology than social realities today in Spain,” Francisca García, of the Association of Accredited Clinics for the Termination of Pregnancy, a group that represents 98 percent of the country’s abortion clinics. “From all the data we’ve seen, the number of abortions in Spain is actually on the decline. The People’s Party is trying to satisfy the rightwing factions of its party.”
The protest itself was peaceful, attracting over 500 supporters, most of whom were women, to demonstrate against a draft bill stipulating a reform to the current Spanish abortion law.
But the police officers wrestle the individuals to the ground before cuffing them and forcing them into a police vehicle. After being attacked by one of the officers, one of the women shouts: “son of a b…, don’t lay another finger on me!” prompting the police officer to hit her in the stomach and push her to the ground.
While being led away, one of the detained, who has her arms drawn up behind her back screams out in pain that the police are “breaking my arms”.
Police officers arrested three people last Friday, 20th of December, in a demonstration against reforms to abortion legislation. The demonstration was held in Madrid and most of the protesters were women. The protest was staged outside of the Ministry of Justice, with protesters calling for the resignation of minister Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón.
The new legislation would restrict women’s right to abort, only allowing the procedure in cases of rape and when there is a serious threat to health. Currently, Spanish law allows women to abort without any restrictions up to 14 weeks into pregnancy
In addition, minors would be required to get consent from their parents to abort, something that was abolished in Spain in 2010.
The government has said it believes the current law is too liberal and the new bill would provide “defense both for the protection of the life of the unborn child and women’s rights”.
Rights groups have slammed the bill as unnecessary. Under the current law the number of abortions in Spain decreased by 5 percent in 2012, according to statistics released by the Health Ministry.