Thousands of people are marching through the Spanish capital Madrid to protest against government plans to liberalise abortion laws.
A similar rally in March attracted an estimated 100,000 supporters. The overwhelmingly Roman Catholic country currently only allows abortions in exceptional circumstances The proposed new law would allow the procedure on demand for women of 16 and over, without their parents’ knowledge. It would be available within the first 14 weeks of pregnancy. This is the latest ethical flashpoint between the Catholic right and the socialist government which has already legalised gay marriage and made divorce easier. In recent years, there have been shocking cases in Spain where doctors have performed abortions on women who were eight months pregnant. The government says the new proposal would make abortion safer by ensuring the procedure does not happen beyond the 22nd week of pregnancy – and then only if there is a health risk to the mother or the foetus is deformed.