Two Million March for Life in Madrid

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
Staff Journalist

As the government of Spain prepares to pass a bill that will allow abortion on demand, more than two million people staged a massive pro-life demonstration on the streets of Madrid on Saturday.

According to the BBC, the demonstration, themed “Cada Vida Importa” or “Every Life Matters” was backed by the Roman Catholic bishops of Spain to protest a plan by the country’s Socialist prime minister, Jose Luis Rodriquez Zapatero, to introduce abortion on demand up to 14 weeks and allow doctors to perform abortions on girls aged 16-17 without their parents’ consent.

“This new law is a barbarity,” said one protester, Jose Carlos Felicidad, to AFP News. “In this country, they protect animals more than human beings.” 

Under existing Spanish law, abortion is only allowed in cases of rape or fetal abnormality, resulting in 112,000 abortions in 2007.

However, women can end a pregnancy if a doctor determines that their physical or psychological health is at risk. This provision has seen shocking abuses in recent years where doctors performed abortions on women who were eight months pregnant, using the justification that their mental health was at risk.

The government is using the usual tactics to get the law passed, saying it’s about respect for “women’s rights” and claims safeguards will be in place, such as counseling for women and restrictions that will not allow the procedure to be performed beyond 22 weeks of pregnancy.

Apparently, millions of Spaniards are not convinced. Saturday’s march sent a loud message to lawmakers as it brought together a diverse group of people, young and old, married and single, nuns and priests, along with more than 40 religious and civil society groups, all calling for the government to withdraw the bill.

The enormous crowd gathered in the heart of the city of Madrid under a blue banner the size of a two-story building that shouted a simple message: “Every Life Matters.”

The manifesto of the march, which was read by three pro-life leaders, urged the government to withdraw its plans to reform the country’s abortion laws, which would leave “the two victims of abortion completely unprotected: the unborn child, who would lack all legal protection, and the woman, doomed to abortion without any possible alternatives.”

Organizers said the new law “would deprive women of their right to maternity,” “would do nothing to avoid abortions and would quantitatively expand the immense failure that abortion always represents.”

The demonstration is considered by some to be one of the largest demonstrations in the history of Spain and a convincing show of strength by Spain’s traditional Catholic right.

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