By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

SPAIN, November 28, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Abortion is now the number one cause of death in Spain, and represents the most common type of violence against women in the formerly Catholic country, according to a new report by the international Institute for Family Policy (IPF).

The report, which was issued on the International Day of Violence Against Women, notes that Spain has one of the most liberal abortion laws in Europe, allowing women to kill their unborn child for "psychological" reasons at any time during their pregnancy.

Under Spain’s practically nonexistent restrictions, abortions have more than doubled since the mid 1990s, climbing from 51,006 in 1996 to over 120,000 in 2007.  The abortion rate is now approaching one in five pregnancies (18.3%), according to the report.

Although purely elective abortions are not technically legal under Spanish law, the vast majority (97%) were undertaken due to a purported psychological or physical risk to the mother. 

Undercover investigations by Spanish media in late 2007 showed that abortion clinics in Spain maintain financial ties with psychologists who automatically issue assessments to abortion clinic customers stating that the woman is psychologically at risk from her pregnancy (see LifeSiteNews coverage at http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2007/nov/07112913.html).

The IPF report also notes that the proportion of women having their second or later abortion has risen substantially since 2000, from 23% that year to 31% in 2006.

The report uses images to demonstrate the seriousness of Spain’s abortion rate: the equivalent population of a mid-sized high school disappears every three days.  Every twenty days the death toll equals the annual number of people killed in car wrecks.  The total death toll, more than a million Spaniards since 1985, is the equivalent of multiple Spanish provinces.

The picture looks even more bleak when compared to other European countries.  While the abortion rate since the beginning of the decade has actually fallen in Italy and Germany, and has risen less than 10% in Britain and France, it has climbed a shocking 59% in Spain.

The report, "Abortion in Spain: 23 Years Later (1985-2008)," is being issued by the IPF as the nation’s ruling Socialist Worker’s Party seeks to liberalize the nation’s already loose abortion restrictions, which have converted Barcelona into the "abortion Mecca" of Europe, according to critics. 

Spain’s abortion rate is a major contributor to the country’s worsening demographic problems.  The average number of children per family in Spain is only 1.3, well below the replacement rate of 2.1.  The downward pressures on population are being relieved by a massive influx of immigrants from Arab countries and South America, which are beginning to replace the native Spanish.

Related Links:

Report: Abortion in Spain: 23 Years Later (1985-2008) (In Spanish)
http://www.ipfe.org/informe_aborto_espana_23.pdf

The Institute for Family Policy
http://www.ipfe.org/

Related LifeSiteNews Coverage:

Spanish Parliament Urged not to Loosen Abortion Law
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/nov/08110601.html

Full Abortions Shown On Spanish Television - First In History
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2007/dec/07121401.html

Late Term Abortionist Arrested by Spain’s Police
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2007/nov/07112913.html

Spain Continues Cultural Tailspin—Abortion Rates Soar 72%
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2006/jan/06010308.html