Thousands in Spain Protest Delays to Tough New Law Making Abortion Illegal

The Straits Times, September 21, 2014

MADRID (AFP) - Thousands of protesters took to the streets of Madrid on Sunday, accusing the government of betrayal amid reports lawmakers are poised to abandon plans for tough new abortion laws.

"Yes to life, no to abortion," shouted demonstrators of all ages as they marched through the centre of Spain's capital, while others yelled: "If they kill, don't vote for them."

"I voted for them and they betrayed me," said demonstrator Iciar Gereca, 41, as she marched with the crowds carrying balloons and banners emblazoned with the slogan "Right to Life". "Why are they holding back now? To win votes? It doesn't make sense."

Spain's ruling conservative Popular Party in December proposed legislation that would make abortion illegal except in cases of rape, or when the pregnancy threatens the health of the mother. But nine months later the law, which would be one of the toughest in Europe, has not yet been approved by Parliament after facing stiff opposition in Spain as well as from abroad.