Whilst the world watched as hundreds of thousands took to city streets on Sunday to lobby their governments for more green taxes, in Madrid a very different rally was taking place. Thousands of pro-lifers marched through Madrid to demand that the Conservative government follow through on a promise to enact new, tough abortion laws, The Local has reported.
“I voted for them and they betrayed me,” said demonstrator Iciar Gereca. “Why are they holding back now? To win votes? It doesn’t make sense.” Around her the crowd, many carrying balloons and banners bearing the slogan “Right to life” were chanting and shouting “Yes to life, no to abortion,” and “If they kill, don’t vote for them.”
Spain’s Popular Party, who won 2011’s general election, included in their manifesto a promise to bring in new laws on abortion which would make it legal only in cases of rape or if the mother’s life was at risk. But nearly three years later, stymied by opposition from within Spain, within the government, and from the wider world, the government has still not passed the new law.
Spanish daily ABC now reports that justice minister Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón has submitted his resignation after the government formally dropped the law change.
Had it been passed, the law would have been amongst the strictest in Europe. Despite liberal opposition, much of rural Spain values its Catholic traditions, with 69 percent of the country self-identifying as Catholic.
“It’s a complicated law, socially sensitive. The government wants to work to achieve the broadest possible consensus,” Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria said on Friday. “The municipal elections are not far away and the government is afraid of losing popularity,” said Maria Arevalo, a 17 year old who marched with the protest on Sunday.