Tens of Thousands Protest Abortion Law in Spain

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of multiple cities in Spain on Sunday to protest a new law that would allow abortion on demand.

Carrying banners and balloons and chanting, "No to abortion! Yes to life!," pro-lifers demonstrated against the law that would allow a woman to have an abortion up to 14 weeks into her pregnancy.

Prior to the legislation, which passed in late February, women could only legally have an abortion in the cases of rape, fetal abnormality, or when the mother's physical or mental health is at risk.

"We are demanding the right to life. The children are not guilty if their parents want or don't want them," said Marta Puig, a protester at the Madrid march, according to The Associated Press.

Protesters at the Madrid rally blocked the central Sol square. Pro-life marches also took place in at least three other cities besides the capital.

Spain is an overwhelmingly Catholic nation, with about 94 percent of its population identifying as Roman Catholic, according to the CIA World Factbook.

A similar but much larger (by some estimates one million people) pro-life rally took place in October. At the time, the bill was only a proposal introduced by socialist Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.

"No woman can be sent to jail for terminating her pregnancy or threatened with that," said Zapatero about the abortion law at a political rally on Saturday. "That's the difference."

Spain's new abortion law is the latest legislation that pits conservative Catholics against the liberal government, which has also recently legalized same-sex marriage and made obtaining a divorce easier.

The new law is scheduled to take effect in July. Spain now has a similar abortion policy as most of the other European Union nations.