Ombudsman starts probe into anti-abortion demos in Spain

SPAIN’s Public Ombudsman has asked police for an explanation of why people are being allowed to harass women entering abortion clinics.

The agency has approached the Directorate General of Police to ask “what is the criterion adopted” in these cases For several years ‘Ultracatholic’ groups have periodically been demonstrating outside the doors of clinics to protest against abortion and harass women entering in a bid to get them to change their mind.

The clinics have applauded the Ombudsman’s investigation, but they wonder why he is only asking the police for an explanation, saying the Ministry of Health should also be quizzed. The Ombudsman said: “There are people who exercise their right of assembly and demonstration and, on the other hand, other people suffer harassment and harassment.”

This is a front on which the clinics have been fighting since the Government approved the current abortion law in 2010 and which led to a meeting between the Ombudsman and various groups in defence of sexual and reproductive rights. 

From there, the Ombudsman opened a file on three specific complaints filed with the National Police. The objective is to supervise police action. What these groups do is stand at the doors of the clinics almost weekly, and in some cases daily. They then confront women with photographs, leaflets, toy foetuses and anti-abortion chants.

The Association of Accredited Clinics for the Voluntary Interruption of Pregnancy (ACAI) has identified several sites where the presence is more recurrent and intense, including Malaga, Albacete, Cordoba, Algeciras (Cadiz) and Madrid. 

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Written by

Dilip Kuner

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