Spain Bans Harassment of Women who Had Abortions

Spain has criminalized the harassment or intimidation of women going for abortions under the new legislation approved on Wednesday.

Anti-abortion activists who try to convince women not to terminate their pregnancies could face up to a year of imprisonment.

Pedro Sánchez, the Prime Minister of Spain, proposed the measure that will come into effect after being published in the official state bulletin.

Staunchly Catholic Spain decriminalized abortion in 1985 in cases of rape, if a fetus is malformed, or if a birth poses a significant physical or psychological risk to the mother, and broadened the scope of the law in 2010 to allow abortion on demand in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy.

According to a 2018 study by ACAI, which represents abortion clinics, 89% of Spanish women said that they had felt harassed when attending an abortion clinic, and 66% said that they felt threatened.

Anti-abortion activists from the Right to Life platform protested outside the Senate in Madrid against the “criminalization” of their protests as Sánchez’s government debated the legislation.

“Praying is not a crime, and we will continue to pray and offer our help to all those women who need it so that they can see that abortion is not the only solution,” spokesperson Inmaculada Fernández said.

The Spanish government will ensure that all public hospitals will offer abortions and further legislation that will allow teenagers aged 16 and 17 to end a pregnancy without parental permission.

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