Private clinics, which perform most of the abortions in Spain, began a five day strike on Tuesday in response to alleged harassment and persecution by government investigators and anti-abortion extremists. Only emergency operations will be performed. The strike was organized by the Association of Accredited Abortion Clinics, who estimate that it will effect approximately 2,000 women, reports the New York Times.
"There is a cloud of suspicion hanging over us ever since the Barcelona clinic was closed," Francisca García Gallego, a regional director of the Association of Accredited Abortion Clinics, in the New York Times. "We feel physically threatened, but nobody in the government has come out in our defense."
Current law in Spain only allows abortion during the first 22 weeks of pregnancy if there is a risk of fetal malformation and the first 12 weeks in cases of rape. Otherwise, abortions are only allowed if the mental or physical health is at risk. According to the BBC, doctors in Spain are trying to change abortion law in the country to more closely match that of other European nations, where abortion is generally allowed during the first trimester.
Media Resources: New York Times 1/9/08; BBC News 1/9/08; Guardian Unlimited 1/9/08