Wednesday, December 7

The law that punishes anti-abortion harassment blurs an ultra-Catholic campaign: prayers 90 meters from a clinic

“Live Christ the King”. With this song, the call organized by the ultra-Catholic platform ‘Praying is not a crime’ has started and which has mobilized between 25 and 30 attendees this Saturday. His ultimate goal was to pray the rosary in front of the Dator clinic, a center in Madrid where voluntary terminations of pregnancy are practiced and which has become one of the most popular for this type of group. But, for the first time, they have not succeeded. The law that punishes anti-abortion harassment He has forced them to move 90 meters away. They have ended up praying in front of a physiotherapy center.

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On this occasion they have not been able to display their entire liturgy in front of the center that performs abortions or before the users of this clinic. After the reform of the Penal Code, approved in April, and which has included a specific crime to prosecute those who harass and harass women at the doors of abortion clinics, the Government Delegation has decided to modify the course of this concentration and place the final point – where they pray the rosary – 90 meters from the center to avoid “visual contact between the protesters and the entrance of the Dator clinic”, point out official sources from the department led by Mercedes González.

Kneeling and with a large cross

These ultra-Catholic groups have a well-established liturgy to demonstrate before clinics that perform abortions: a spokeswoman reads the mysteries of the rosary aloud and with a megaphone; some of the activists support the prayer on their knees and others come with a t-shirt that reads ‘Praying is not a crime’, the motto of this group. The concentrations are also accompanied by a large cross.

This Saturday at noon they have been able to display all their paraphernalia. Their motto has been fulfilled: praying has not been a crime, but they have not been able to do it in front of the Dator clinic or its users. With the decision of the Government Delegation to move them a block away, the prayer of the rosary took place in front of a physiotherapy clinic, in anticipation of the neighbors who were walking in the area and a security perimeter of national police officers around the center who performs abortions.

“Every day they try to put you a little further back,” says one of the promoters of the call on the location of these concentrations. From the ultra-Catholic platform they also recognize that “the impact” of their campaigns “is much greater” if they are carried out in front of the clinic. To prevent the Delegation’s decision from setting a precedent, the promoters of ‘Praying is not a crime’ assert that they have appealed this measure in court. “Today was the hearing and they have not been presented, with which the resolution of the Government delegate has been applied,” indicates a spokesman for the department of Mercedes González.

Government Delegation Decision

These actions of ultra-Catholic groups before clinics that practice abortion “have been going on for 36 years,” says a spokeswoman for the Madrid center. “Most of the time it has happened before the Dator clinic and in the last five or six years it has spread to more autonomous communities, such as Castilla-La Mancha, the Valencian Community, the Basque Country, Barcelona… These groups are in all public spaces,” she adds.

Although this Saturday there has been no contact between most of the activists and the women who entered Dator, the ultra-Catholic harassment continues to be very present in the surroundings of that center. Opposite the clinic there is an anti-abortion shop opened by Hazte Oír, which calls itself a ‘pro-life shelter’ and has the slogan printed on the façade: “Abortion is not the only option”. In the event that some of the passers-by have not noticed that place when passing through the street and approaching the clinic, a woman who introduces herself as a medical student distributes brochures with the same slogan and tries to intercept the users who leave the center.

From Dator they celebrate the reform of the Penal Code that includes a specific crime to prosecute those who harass and harass women at the doors of abortion clinics. Although this Saturday a safety distance has been imposed, from the clinic they assure that the reform “has been lame because the security zones and perimeters were not incorporated” into the articles. “Logically, the further away they are, the less harassment scenario women and those of us who work at the clinic will have to face,” indicate clinic sources.

Before approaching the clinic, this Saturday the demonstrators have walked several blocks of Madrid’s Sor María de la Cruz street in procession led by a large cross raised by one of the young people who leads the platform, with rosaries hanging from their hands and Shouts of “Long live Christ the King.” Among the attendees were people of all ages. The promoters assure that they are university students. “We are a group of people who dedicate ourselves to praying and fighting for the defense of the Catholic faith in Spain,” says María, spokesperson for ‘Praying is not a crime’.

One of her companions, Fátima, distances herself from the accusations of harassment that these types of ultra-Catholic campaigns receive that are organized in front of centers that perform abortions and in front of women who are going to interrupt their pregnancies. “You must have already seen it. We were here praying and singing without disturbing ”, she tells And she adds: “Well, if they feel inhibited or harassed, which I repeat that we don’t, it will be because they will believe that they are doing something wrong”.

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