A controversial new abortion law comes into effect in Spain today, allowing women to terminate pregnancies more easily. Abortion on demand becomes possible during the first 14 weeks.
The new law also enables girls of 16 and 17 to abort without parental consent, although they have to fulfil certain conditions.
It is the latest in a series of issues that have set the government against the Catholic Church.
The new law also authorises abortion at any time during pregnancy if the foetus is deformed.
Its supporters argue that women are better protected.
“Laws like this one don’t force anyone to abort,” said Empar Pineda, spokeswoman for the Isadora Clinic where abortions are performed. “They (the opponents) should respect women that need to have an abortion – and stop this crusade to prevent them from doing so.”
Several hundred anti-abortion protesters demonstrated at the weekend outside the Constitutional Court in Madrid, which is to hear an appeal against the new law.
They argue that it will lead to more abortions.
It is estimated that each year more than a hundred thousand women have abortions in private clinics via a legal loophole.