Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Aftermath of Pro-Choice Demonstrations in Madrid, Barcelona and other Spanish Cities

Madrid, January 24, 2008.- The Spanish Federation of Family Planning (FPFE) and its member associations have supported the pro choice demonstrations which took place in Madrid and Barcelona yesterday at 7pm in Puerta del Sol and Plaça Sant Jaume respectively. The demonstrations demanded the depenalization of abortion and that abortions should be performed in and covered by the public health system, which is decentralized in Spain –which means that each autonomous community (the first-level political division of Spain) is responsible for its own self-management concerning Health.

Around 5,000 people participated in Madrid and 1,000 people in Barcelona. Additionally, other demonstrations took place in other eleven Spaniard cities such as Vigo, A Coruña, and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria,

In Madrid, more than 50 feminists and women’s organizations leaded the demonstration supported also by unions and political parties, to defend women’s right to choose with mottos such as “women give birth, women decide” and “against the persecution on women”.

In Barcelona, 30 organizations supported the demonstration as part of the campaign for the right to choose, under the motto “I have aborted, too”.

In cities of the Galicia Autonomous Community, such as Vigo and A Coruña, more than 300 people demanded that abortions should be performed in and covered by the public health system and expressed their solidarity with the health professionals in the abortion centres. Among other Galician organizations, the Marcha Mundial de las Mujeres (World March of Women) leads the campaign.

Every city is promoting a self-incrimination campaign that will be submitted to the Court next March, 8th.

In Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, feminist associations, sexual and reproductive health organizations and unions from the Autonomous Community of Canarias, led the demonstration to demand, among other things, that the Canarian Public Health System should perform and cover abortions.

The demonstrators in Madrid demanded the cease of the “violent campaign” against abortion which leaded by different conservative groups. In addition, the demonstrators have demanded further commitment from the Spanish Government to change the Law on Abortion (that was passed in 1985) -and definitely deleting from it the Penal Code- in order to protect women and medical professionals from the gaps of the current Law of Abortion.

In Madrid, more than 2,000 statements of self-incrimination both by women and men will be submitted to the Court that is judging the denounces presented in Madrid by the ultraconservative group “La vida importa” (Life matters).

Additionally, members of the Socialist Party (PSOE) participated in the demonstration in Madrid. They had to hear the claims from the demonstrators, who demanded the PSOE to fulfil the socialist’s promise to change the Law on Abortion included in the PSOE 2004 electoral program for the general elections, a failed promise now that the Zapatero Administration (2004-2008) is about to end.


Following 30 years of actions, reflections and mobilizations to support women’s right to abortion, Spain have finished 2007 and have begun 2008 with the fundamentalist conservatives attacking both women rights and abortive clinics in Madrid and Barcelona.

The FPFE understands that people working abortion clinics are being considered and treated as criminals. But the real scandal is that, even when the usual way to send judicial citations is via post mail, the Judges in Madrid and Barcelona have ordered the Civil Guard (a special police corps) to give personally and in their houses the citations to declare to the women that appear in the Clinics files.

This systematic campaign against abortion gathers the ultraconservative sectors of the Catholic Church and the extreme Right political movement. These groups have intimidated health professionals and women in the Clinics in Barcelona and Madrid and had presented denounces about the activities in the clinics that conduced to the arrests of professionals of the clinics.

The FPFE is for the protection of women rights, including the right to abortion.

“I have aborted, too” is one of the mottos chosen by the different organizations supporting yesterday’s demonstration in order to show solidarity with all women who have aborted and now feel fear and insecurity.

Yesterday, women and social organizations in Barcelona and Madrid and other Spanish cities had the opportunity to demonstrate their own support to change, among other things, the current legislation on abortion while reinforcing their right to decide on their own lives.

All in all, “I have aborted, too” is a motto in favour of justice. Additionally, contraception and the right to contraception is a right for women.

Once more, in the aftermath of both demonstrations, the FPFE demands:

The removal of abortion from the Spanish Penal Code.
The change of the current Law of Abortion to include the women’s right to decide upon their own bodies.
The normalization of abortion in the Spanish Public Health System (SPHS), guaranteeing the practice of abortion despite the fact of the conscientious objection which sometimes takes place among several doctors of the SPHS staff.
The support of the State of Rule guaranteeing women rights, including the right to abortion and the right of medical professionals to practice the medical profession linked to abortion, without intimidations or defamations and without affecting the right to abortion.
The guarantee of the Sexual and Reproductive Rights (SRR) for women which has already been acknowledged by Spain at the International Conference of Population and Development (ICPD, El Cairo, 1994) and the IV World Conference of Women (Beijing, 1995), i.e., giving women the right to get information on SRR, contraception and access to contraception.

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