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'Give us Spain's abortion law': French pro-lifers

Alex Dunham/The Local/AFP · 20 Jan 2014, 16:56

Published: 20 Jan 2014 16:56 GMT+01:00

Thousands of anti-abortionists took to the streets of the French capital on Sunday in an effort which they hope will see similar legislation to that passed in Spain last month make it into France next.

Participants marched through Paris on the eve of a parliamentary debate on a bill that would make terminations of pregnancy in France easier.

Organizers, among them right-wing religious groups, anti-gay activists and handicapped children associations, claimed 40,000 people took part.

Police put their number at 16,000.

The demonstration was inspired by the Spanish conservative party's (Popular Party) decision last month to approve a draft bill that bans abortions except in cases of rape or where there's a threat to the mother's health.

The legislation has yet to be passed but the Spanish government has an overwhelming majority in the country's parliament.

Dressed in the red and yellow colours of the Spanish flag, demonstrators chanted "Viva España" and “We want to thank Spain for the example they've set".

Popular Party members José Eugenio Azpiroz Villar, Javier Puente and Luis Peral were present at the Paris march, the French edition of The Huffington Post reported.

"In a sense, Spain is spearheading a European movement against abortion," Peral is reported as saying.

France's left-wing dominated parliament will start debating on Monday a bill that would allow women to abort if they don’t wish to pursue her pregnancy.

Current law requires French women to prove that having a baby would put them "in a situation of distress".

Story continues below…

The bill would also punish those who try to prevent a woman from entering places where she can receive information on abortion.

France records around 220,000 abortions a year and it is estimated around one Frenchwoman in three undergoes the procedure in her lifetime.

Since a year ago, abortions have been reimbursed under the state health system.

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Alex Dunham/The Local/AFP (alex.dunham@thelocal.com)

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