TENS of thousands of outraged protesters have taken to the streets in Madrid to express disgust at the planned overhaul of the country’s abortion law.
In the most draconian laws in Europe, women will only be able to abort in cases of rape, severe foetal deformity and when the pregnancy will compromise the health of the mother.
The message from the Spanish populus though seems definitive: they will not accept the banning of abortion and they demand Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon – the minister of justice who proposed the draft paper – to resign.
Solidarity protests were also held in Rome, Lisbon, Paris and Hannover, after more than 2000 people had gathered outside the Spanish embassy in Brussels on January 29.
Many protesters were dressed in purple – a colour symbolising feminism – and carried banners with slogans such as ‘We give birth, we decide’ and ‘Abortion has no place in criminal law’.
However Ruiz-Gallardon remained defiant, saying: “You have my word that neither insult nor cry shall make this minister rescind his commitment to fulfilling the policy of regulating the rights of women and of pregnancy.”
Under the new rules passed on December 20 women would not be punished for illegal abortions, though doctors could go to jail for up to three years.