Spain: The actions of anti-abortion activists are now condemned for harassment

The Spanish Senate on Wednesday, April 6, voted an amendment to the Criminal Code that would allow anti-abortion activists to be convicted of harassment and intimidation.

This new reform disrupts the country’s strong Catholic tradition, which only legalized abortion in 2010. Until then, it had only been decriminalized since 1985 in cases of rape, serious risk to the mother or malformation of the fetus. If abortion is legal today, it is weakened by the lack of specialized local services.

ÚLTIMA HORA | Luz verde definitiva al delito para perseguir el acoso de los antiabortistas frente a las clinics

—Ignacio Escolar (@iescolar) Apr 6, 2022

Spanish anti-abortion activists have always been fervent in the country and the phenomenon has grown in recent years, spurred on by the far-right movement Vox, European ally of the National Rally. In January, the Association of Catholic Propagandists (ACdP) launched an important action in particular: the installation of 260 panels repeating the slogan “praying for a clinic that performs abortion is great” in 33 cities in Spain. In particular, these panels were placed near abortion clinics, as well as in the Madrid metro.

An important reform for Spanish society

On Wednesday, April 6, the Spanish Senate therefore took a historic step by adopting the amendment to the Criminal Code, creating the possibility to convict anti-abortion activists for intimidation and bullying† They risk between 3 months and 1 year prison or community service, inform us El Periodico

u2705 APROBADA and el @Senadoesp la reforma del Código Penal para penalizar el acoso a las mujeres que acuden a clinics para abortar u203cufe0f


u274c PP y VOX votan and contra.#EspañaRespond

— PSOE SENADO (@gpssenado) Apr 6, 2022

The conditions are as follows: the presence of a “Hinder to the exercise of the right to voluntary termination of pregnancy” by means of “annoying, abusive, intimidating or pressuring acts”† This reform driven by the party of the socialist president of the Spanish government pedro sanchezconcern both the facts regarding women who want an abortion and those targeting the nursing staff.

This new measure meets a real need of Spanish women. In 2018, a report from the Association of Clinics Authorized to Perform Abortion revealed that: 89% of Spanish women who wanted an abortion said they had been harassed and 66% had been threatened.

Animated Reactions

However, the reform has clearly provoked strong reactions from anti-abortion activists who demonstrated before the Senate on Wednesday against what they see as a “criminalization” of their simple “aid” to Hispanic women. Some displayed signs: “God will say if we go to jail”.

ud83cuddeaud83cuddf8 El Senado español aprobó este miércoles un modification del código penal que castigará el acoso y la intimidation de los activistas antiaborto a las mujeres que acudan a clinics para interrumpir voluntary embaruntariamente #AFP

— Agence France Presse (@AFPespanol) Apr 6, 2022

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