Spain will ban harassment of women entering abortion clinics

A person holds a sign that reads ''Aborto Cero'' among a large crowd
A protester holds a sign opposing abortion at a demonstration in Pamplona, Spain, in 2014.
(Alvaro Barrientos / Associated Press)

Spain will soon enact a new law banning the intimidation or harassment of women entering abortion clinics.

The law comes into force when it is published in the Government Gazette, possibly next week, after the Spanish Senate on Wednesday endorsed a law passed last year by the Congress of Deputies.

The Senate voted 154 to 105 to adopt changes to the penal code in Spain, where abortions are available for free in the public health service through the 14th week of pregnancy. The changes mean that anyone harassing a woman going into an abortion clinic will be committing a crime that can be punished by up to one year in prison.


Spain’s government, led by the center-left Socialist party, proposed the law last year and deputies approved it in September.

In the Senate, as in the lower house, the changes were opposed by right-of-center political groups. They argued that the alterations defied the constitutional right to free speech and the right to assemble.

Antiabortion groups said their gatherings outside abortion clinics were organized to pray and offer help to the women, not to harass.

The national Assn. of Accredited Clinics for Pregnancy Termination says that more than 100 cases of harassment are reported outside clinics each year.