By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman
MADRID, September 23, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The leader of Spain's opposition People's Party is encouraging members to attend a massive demonstration in favor of life in the nation's capital, following the approval of a new abortion legalization bill by Spain's Council of State.
The legislation will allow women to procure an abortion for any reason whatsoever during the first 14 weeks of pregnancy. Under current Spanish law, abortions are permitted only under certain conditions, including a risk to the "psychological health" of the mother, an excuse that is used in almost all of the more than 100,000 abortions that occur each year in Spain.
The approval by the Council represents another step towards final approval of the legislation, which must be voted on by the national Congress and signed into law by the president before entering into effect. As it nears approval, the bill has generated increasing opposition from the Spanish public, as indicated in recent opinion polls.
The demonstration, to be held on October 17th, is expected to bring a number comparable to the 500,000 who came to another demonstration on March 29th of this year. It is being organized by the pro-life activist group HazteOir.org (Make Yourself Heard) and Derecho a Vivir (Right to Live), and has the support of dozens of civic organizations.
The leader of Spain's People's Party (PP), Mariano Rajoy, encouraged fellow party members to attend the October 17th rally, which has been dubbed "17-O", while declining to attend himself. However, he reiterated his intention to challenge the legislation in Spain's constitutional court should it pass. His main objection, shared by a majority of Spaniards, is that the legislation will permit adolescents as young as 16 years old to obtain an abortion without their parents' consent.
The PP canceled its national convention scheduled for October 17th so that members could attend, after reportedly receiving thousands of emails requesting the date be changed.
Although PP spokesman Jaime Mayor Oreja has promised to attend, pro-life commentators are skeptical about the party's support.
A commentator for the pro-life organization HazteOir ("Make Yourself Heard"), stated in a recent opinion piece that "the current Spanish legislation regarding abortion is nothing grand: this alone has brought about the death of one million unborn children. The PSOE [Spanish Socialist Worker's Party] put it into effect, the PP not only looked the other way but allowed free abortion through the celebrated third premise [fetal deformity] without the least concern."
"As a result of its erroneous political maneuvers, the PP is prepared, without abandoning its position in favor of the current abortion law, to once again deceive the citizenry who, poorly informed, will only receive the idea that the PP is supporting those who fight against abortion," complained the Traditionalist Carlist Communion (CTC), a Catholic political party.
March information (Derecho a Vivir)