Abortion takes centre stage at Spain’s Oscars

Abortion takes centre stage at Spain's Oscars
Spanish comedian Joaquin Reyes impersonates members of feminist group FEMEN during this year's Goya awards ceremony. Photo: Pedro Armestre/AFP
A controversial plan in Spain to scrap easy access to abortions took centre stage at the Goya Awards, the country's equivalent of the Oscars, with several actresses slamming the reform as they accepted their prizes.

"I don't want anyone to decide for me," Natalia de Molina said late Sunday as she collected the prize for best new actress for her role in "Living is Easy with Eyes Closed".

The movie, about a small-town schoolmaster who teaches his pupils English during the Franco dictatorship by playing them Beatles songs, also won the best prize and best director statues at the Goya awards in Madrid.

"I want to dedicate my this to all women who fight for our rights," said Marian Alvarez after she picked up the Goya for best actress for her role as an ambulance driver in "Wounded".

The ceremony was broadcast live on public television network TVE to an estimated audience of 3.6 million people.

The issue has prompted deep debate and big protests in Spain, with many opposed to the conservative government's draft law unveiled in December that would allow abortion only in cases of rape or health risk to the mother.

Critics say the measure scrapping more liberal access to abortion would throw the Catholic country back decades, when Spanish women had to go abroad to seek pregnancy terminations.

If the law is adopted, Spain would be the first country in the 28-member European Union to reverse legalizing abortion.

The Goyas also saw several cinema figures use their time at the podium to complain that a recent big hike in sales tax was throttling box office revenues, therefore reducing Spanish film production.

"Making a movie in our country is an authentic act of heroism," said the president of the Spanish film academy, Enrique Gonzalez Macho.

Spanish movie theatre revenues dropped 16 percent in 2013 compared to the previous year due to the sales tax hike, as well as the economic downturn and online film piracy, he said.

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