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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 January 2008, 14:33 GMT
Spain abortion clinics on strike
Medic (file pic)
The abortion clinics are now in talks with the government
The private clinics that carry out more than 90% of legal abortions in Spain have begun a week-long strike calling for changes to the law.

They say women and doctors should have better legal protection. The strike is expected to affect up to 2,000 women.

Police raided abortion clinics in Barcelona and Madrid late last year.

Most abortions in Spain are carried out under a law requiring a doctor's diagnosis that the pregnancy poses a risk to the woman's mental health.

Spanish doctors, who started strike action on Tuesday, want the law changed in line with many other European countries, where a woman can choose to have a termination within the first three months of pregnancy.

At present, the doctor's judgment can be called into question by the authorities and in recent months more than a dozen medical staff have been arrested on suspicion of carrying out illegal abortions.

Dr Roland Ledea, who runs a private abortion clinic in Madrid, told that BBC that "we are now in 2008 and the law was made in 1985 - society has changed a lot".

"I think abortion should be free, depending on the woman that is pregnant, nothing else."

Abortions can also be performed in Spain within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy in cases of rape and within 22 weeks in cases of foetal malformation.

The Roman Catholic Church, supported by a large minority of Spaniards, opposes on moral grounds any termination of a pregnancy.

In the past decade, the number of legal abortions in Spain has doubled to more than 100,000 per year.

The government is unlikely to want to stir a national debate and change the law, the BBC's Danny Wood reports from Madrid.

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