Women seeking abortions in Spain will no longer be harassed by protestors outside abortion clinics, thanks to a new legislation that went into effect on Thursday.
The law went into effect on Thursday, a day after it was published in Spain’s Official State Bulletin, which is a government publication (BOE).
Spanish law has been revised, and anti-abortion demonstrators who attempt to persuade women not to terminate their pregnancies will face a year in prison under the new rules.
In practice, under Spanish law, a first-time criminal who receives a prison term of less than two years is not prosecuted, but the code modification provides for community service as an alternative punishment.
According to the law, anybody who attempts to ‘prevent a woman from exercising her right to voluntarily terminate pregnancy’ by engaging in ‘bothersome, insulting, intimidating, or threatening activities’ may be prosecuted for their actions.
Abortion clinic employees who are subjected to harassment or intimidation are likewise prohibited from doing so.
Anti-abortion activists claim they are merely praying in front of abortion facilities.
When the decision to modify the law was revealed last week, anti-abortion demonstrators gathered outside the Spanish parliament in Madrid to demonstrate their support.
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As the organization’s spokeswoman, Inmaculada Fernandez, put it: “Praying is not a crime, and we will continue to pray and provide our assistance to all those ladies who require it so that they may understand that abortion is not the only answer.”
“More than 6,000 infants were born last year as a result of the efforts of pro-life organizations, and none of the moms expressed regret for having given birth,” she continued.
The national government also intends to guarantee that abortion services are available in all public hospitals and that teens between the ages of 16 and 17 can obtain a termination without the need for parental consent.
According to the OMC physicians’ group, many women in Spain are forced to seek abortions outside of the public health system since “most” obstetricians and gynecologists in the public health system refuse to perform terminations.