Strike at Spanish abortion clinics14th January 2008
Spain's abortion clinics are in the fifth day of a strike in which they are calling for changes in the law to protect their employees from what they say are unfair prosecutions.
The general strike closed 40 clinics across the country, where abortion is legal if the mother or the baby's health can be shown to be at risk.
Spanish clinics now carry out around 100,000 abortions a year, making liberal use of the provision to show that the mother's mental health would be at stake if the pregnancy were to progress.
Francisca Garcia Gallego, a regional director of the Association of Accredited Abortion Clinics, said the strikes would affect 2,000 Spanish women who want to terminate their pregnancies, but she said they would still take emergency cases.
Abortion was allowed for the first time in the Catholic country, during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy for rape victims, and the first 22 weeks if there is a foetal malformation.
It is allowed at any point in the pregnancy if the health of mother and baby are at risk.
But the doctor's judgment can be called into question by the authorities and in recent months more than a dozen medical staff have been arrested on suspicion of carrying out illegal abortions.
The clinics are protesting at the increasing number of rallies against abortion led by pro-life groups and raids by local authorities in December on the illegal operations of some clinics.
Police raided abortion clinics in Barcelona and Madrid late last year.
The raids came after a dramatic under-cover news team filmed an abortion specialist, Carlos Morin, offering a termination to a woman who was seven months pregnant. Morin has been jailed, but the abortion clinics say the vast majority of Spanish abortions are carried out during the first 12 weeks.
The government is unlikely to want to re-open this debate ahead of elections in March.
The Catholic Church, supported by a large minority in Spain, opposes on moral grounds any termination of a pregnancy.
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Title: Strike at Spanish abortion clinics
Author: Luisetta Mudie
Article Id: 5276
Date Added: 14th Jan 2008