A bill proposed last week by the ruling Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party would criminalize “harassment” of women entering abortion clinics.
The bill was introduced May 21 by the PSOE’s coalition in the Congress of Deputies, the lower house of Spain’s legislature, would criminalize “harassing women going to clinics for the voluntary interruption of pregnancy.”
Penalties for what would be deemed harassment would include jail terms of three months to a year, or community service from 31 to 80 days. Depending on circumstances, an individual could also be barred from a particular location for between six months and three years.
In the exposition of motives for introducing the bill, the PSOE characterized the “harassment” of pro-life witness at abortion clinics as “approaching women with photographs, model fetuses, and proclamations against abortion … the objective is for the women to change their decision through coercion, intimidation, and harassment.”
The socialist parliamentary group said it “considers it essential to guarantee a safety zone” around abortion clinics.
Anyone promoting, favoring, or participating in demonstrations near abortion clinics would be subject to penalties.
One outreach the bill could ban is Life Ambulance, which offers “a free ultrasound in front of the abortion clinic to show the mother the reality of her child and the heartbeat of her baby.”
The mobile ultrasound initiative has “all the legal permits and certified medical professionals” to provide the service.
Life Ambulance has launched an online petition to oppose the bill, saying it “violates the right to freedom of speech, the right to demonstrate and the mother’s right to know the reality of abortion.”
Several locales have in recent years considered or adopted “buffer zones” around abortion clinics that limit free speech in the protected areas.
Pro-choice activists in 2020 called on the Scottish government to ban prayer and public discussion of abortion in the vicinity of the country’s abortion clinics.
Read more at Catholic News Agency