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Spain on verge of imprisoning pro-life sidewalk counselors… for praying

Spain, sterilization

Spain’s Congress of Deputies approved new legislation last Thursday that seeks to imprison pro-life sidewalk counselors.

The law was approved in a 204 to 144 vote and will now move forward in the Senate. If it is officially passed as expected, pro-lifers who attempt to help women entering abortion facilities “through offensive, intimidating or coercive” acts — which includes praying — will face jail time. A woman doesn’t even have to complain about the presence of pro-lifers in order for them to be arrested and prosecuted.

“Prayer is not freedom of expression if the end result is to coerce,” a spokesperson for a pro-abortion group said, according to Spanish News Today. However, offering support to a woman who is seeking abortion, or praying for that woman, is not coercion. More than 60% of women who have undergone abortions say they were pressured into them. By offering help and support, pro-lifers are actually battling against abortion coercion that comes from parents, partners, and the abortion industry itself which stands to make money when women obtain abortions. Pro-lifers have nothing to gain personally from helping a woman choose life. The abortion industry, however, has a financial interest in ensuring that women feel they have no options other than abortion.

READ: Spain plans to expand its abortion laws, end conscience protections for doctors

María Teresa Angulo Romero of the People’s Party said that the proposed law is not about preventing coercion but penalizes “fundamental rights such as freedom of speech or assembly because what underlies is a sectarian limitation of rights because of the ideas of those who exercise them.”

“You don’t want to penalize supposed coercion,” she said, “if so, your proposal would be unnecessary because the Penal Code already covers coercion. You want to prohibit the right of assembly or free speech where and by whom you don’t like.”

The penalties for helping women choose life include three months to a year in jail or community service for 31 to 80 days. Pro-lifers who are prosecuted could be prohibited from returning to the abortion facility for six months to three years.

Women deserve to know that help exists so that they can freely choose life for their babies, and many women have expressed gratefulness to sidewalk counselors who have reached out in support. Silencing pro-lifers means that women are more likely to make the choice to abort their children under pressure and without having all of the information available to them.

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