MADRID, Spain — Months after tens of thousands marched in favor of abortion in Spain’s capital, tens of thousands marched against the practice on Saturday, threatening not to vote for the governing party during the next election if it does not outlaw abortion in the nation.
“Yes to life! No to abortion!” some of the thousands, who had been bused to Madrid from across the country, chanted outside of the headquarters of the Popular Party. Others held white flags bearing the phrase “every life counts.” An estimated 500 buses descended on the nation’s capital, bringing those who sought to speak up for life.
The march is in response to a promise by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who vowed in 2011 before he was elected that he would work to restrict abortion in the country. Rajoy’s justice minister, Alberto Ruiz Gallardon, had worked up a plan to change the current law, which allows abortion on demand up to 14 weeks, in an effort to outlaw the practice.
However, Gallardon provided exceptions in the event of rape, fetal abornormality or the life and health of the mother. He also allowed teens 16 and up to obtain an abortion with their parent’s permission.
In February, tens of thousands marched on the streets of Madrid to protest Gallardon’s plan, holding banners that read, “Allow mothers to decide,” “Abortion is sacred” and “Mothers and fathers in freedom.” Among the protesters were members of the feminist group Femen, as well as Socialist Party candidate Anne Hidalgo. Some members of Femen marched topless or carried replicas of reproductive organs in protest.
Polls at the time also showed that the majority of the nation was opposed to changing the current law.
In September, Rajoy abandoned efforts to ban abortion in the nation due to the failure of the Popular Party to reach a consensus on the issue.
“As president of the government I have taken the most sensible decision,” he said. “We can’t have a law that will be changed when another government comes in.”
Hours after Rajoy’s announcement, Gallardon resigned from his position. The development angered may pro-life citizens across the nation.
“We’re announcing that there will be many more protests in the street,” declared Gador Joya of Spain’s Right to Life organization. “If Rajoy wanted to silence Spaniards with this announcement, he is mistaken because this will have the contrary effect.”
On Saturday, those disappointed in Rajoy and the Popular Party took to the streets to demand an end to abortion in the nation.
“Abortion is not a right. Abortion is a tragedy,” attendee Jose Romero, 50, told reporters.
“It does not affect me personally because I would never have an abortion. But if there were a reform, lots of people would be allowed to live, without having their lives cut short,” said 17-year-old Amparo Bonastre. “Life must be defended.”
Marchers asked that the government keep its promise and that it work toward promoting adoption in the nation.
“The government and its party are betraying their electoral commitments and their voters,” stated a manifesto, according to the AFP. Abandoning efforts to ban abortion “would confirm the total lack of protection for the two victims of abortion: the unborn child, who lacks judicial protection, and the mother, who is given no alternative.”
While Gallardon provided exceptions in his proposal, many pro-life citizens worldwide do not believe that there should be any reason to murder an unborn child.
“Protection of the life of the mother as an excuse for an abortion is a smoke screen. In my 36 years of pediatric surgery, I have never known of one instance where the child had to be aborted to save the mother’s life,” once stated former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop. “If toward the end of the pregnancy complications arise that threaten the mother’s health, the doctor will induce labor or perform a Caesarean section. His intention is to save the life of both the mother and the baby. The baby’s life is never willfully destroyed because the mother’s life is in danger.”