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Spain protesters oppose relaxation of abortion law

[JURIST] Spanish protesters rallied in Madrid on Saturday in opposition to a law that would relax restrictions on abortions. Protesters adopted the slogan "Every life matters" and former Spanish prime minister Jose Maria Aznar spoke [El Pais report, in Spanish] in support of the protesters. Estimates claim that between 250,000 and two million protesters attended, but no objective count [BBC report] was made. The new bill would permit a girl 16 years or older to terminate a pregnancy without the permission of her parents and would ease current abortion laws [NYT report], which require a woman to prove that her mental or physical health is in danger before receiving an abortion.

Spain's Council of State approved the bill [JURIST report] last month. The changes were proposed [JURIST report] in March by a panel of legal and medical experts led by the Minister of Equality Bibiano Aido [official website, in Spanish], eliciting widespread protests [JURIST report] throughout Spain. The panel was formed [JURIST report] last September at the request of Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero [official profile, in Spanish] as part of a series of social reforms including same-sex marriage [JURIST report] and streamlined divorce proceedings. The conservative Popular Party [official website, in Spanish] has repeatedly expressed the opinion [El Pais report, in Spanish] that relaxed abortion laws would stand in opposition to Article 15 of the Spanish Constitution [text, in Spanish], which guarantees the right to life. Spanish abortion laws [BBC backgrounder] are among the most restrictive in European nations.

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