Luis Argüello, archbishop of Valladolid and general secretary of the Spanish Episcopal Conference / Photo credit: CEE

Denver Newsroom, Oct 17, 2022 / 13:00 pm (CNA).

The archbishop of Valladolid and spokesman for the Spanish Bishops’ Conference, Luis Argüello, defended pro-lifers praying in front of abortion clinics and objected to their being labeled as “ultra-Catholic” or “on the extreme right.”

Argüello criticized in an Oct. 16 Twitter post that “those who defend life by praying in front of a clinic where a person developing in the womb is killed are discredited as ultra-Catholic or extreme right.”

“There are only ad hominem arguments left for those who know they’re going against science, ethics, integral ecology, and the voice of God,” the prelate wrote.

Spain’s socialist government for some time has put in place mechanisms to put pressure on pro-life volunteer groups who pray in front of abortion businesses and help mothers who are considering aborting their children.

Last April, an change to the country’s Penal Code was passed that punishes with sentences of three months to one year in prison those who are found guilty of carrying out “annoying, offensive, intimidating, or coercive acts” toward women going to have abortions.

The government justified the change in the law by pointing to those who pray in front of abortion businesses.

Although no one has yet to be charged with violating the law, there have been incidents over the last few months from which it can be deduced that the authorities have been focusing on pro-lifers.

Several members of pro-life organizations have been fined or efforts to hold prayer at abortion clinics within the parameters of the law have been prevented, according to organizers. 

The most serious situation occurred in mid-September when a woman who was part of the “Praying is not a crime” initiative — and who was 39 weeks pregnant at the time — was surrounded by several police officers while praying outside the Dator abortion business in Madrid.

There have also been attempts by police officers illegally to force members of 40 Days for Life in Vitoria to keep a large distance away from an abortion clinic.

According to El Debate online news, the director of the Basque Country autonomous region police, Victoria Landa, issued an order to keep pro-lifers 80 meters away from an abortion business, which was revoked by the Basque High Court.

“The administration acted incorrectly outside the bounds of the law” by requiring the pro-lifers to change the place where they were gathering, the court explained.

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

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