Spanish lawmakers are poised to vote on a near-total ban on abortion, which was legalized in Spain in 1985. Esperanza Puente is at the center of the debate. Having had an abortion, she now counsels women against it.
Esperanza Puente was among the first of a new generation of Spanish women to get an abortion in the 1980s. Twenty-five years later, Puente is now an abortion opponent at the center of a heated debate about the practice in Spain. The debate has been raging since December, when the conservative People's Party (PP) government announced it planned to vote in favor of a bill significantly curtailing abortion rights, making good on a 2011 election promise.
The bill, which parliament is expected voted on in the coming weeks, was introduced under pressure from the Catholic Church. It would only allow abortion in cases of rape or if the health of the mother was threatened. Girls under 18 would have to get parental consent before an abortion. The law would make Spain's abortion laws among the most restrictive in Europe. The current law permits abortion on demand in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy.
Protesters opposing the measure march in Madrid nearly every week, with polls showing that around 80 percent of people, including practicing Catholics, support abortion on demand.