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MADRID, January 17, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – After five consecutive years of decreasing abortion numbers in Spain, 2017 saw an increase of more than 4,000 aborted babies over those in 2016.

According to an official report, there were 10.5 abortions per 1,000 women in 2017, a figure lower than seen in the years prior to 2010, when there were 11.71 abortions per 1,000 women. It was that year that the Socialist government liberalized the abortion law. Since then, abortion is permitted for girls as young as 16, with parental permission.

According to the pro-life Family Policy Institute of Spain, more than 2 million abortions have been committed in Spain between 1895 and 2015. Spain has the third highest number of abortions in Europe, lagging behind France and the United Kingdom.

Responding via email to LifeSiteNews, the president of the Spanish Federation of Pro-Life Associations, Alicia Latorre, deplored how abortion has become “normal” ever since 2010 when the then-Socialist government asserted it as a “right” to be offered free of charge and funded by taxpayers. She pointed out that even though the Popular Party offered a constitutional challenge as an opposition party to abortion, the abortion law remained in place even when it was in power.

Latorre said, “Abortion is legal and free of charge. But we should not forget that the 2 million+ abortions are official numbers. We know that many women go to abortion centers and pay: thus their numbers do not appear anywhere nor are they recorded in the statistics.”

Because both the Socialist and Popular Parties have countenanced abortion, Latorre said her organization will continue helping expectant mothers to prevent the loss of even a single life, while also condemning the horror of abortion and its effects on mothers and fathers. Saying she will continue participating in the national debate, Latorre pointed out that Spanish pro-lifers will have their own annual March for Life on March 25. “With the motto 'Yes, to life,'” Latorre said pro-lifers of Spain want to make certain that abortion is not forgotten. She said Spaniards should keep those lives “present in their minds, and that they come to recognize that the defense of life is the most urgent and progressive cause that exists.”

Although in 2016 there was an increase in abortions, from 10.36 to 10.51, in recent years, there has been a downward trend, since after the approval of the law, the figures skyrocketed. In fact, 2011 had the highest abortion rate in the last 10 years: 12.47 of every 1,000 women decided to have an abortion.

Reflecting an increase of 1 percent, 94,123 abortions were committed in 2017, as opposed to 93,131 in 2016. Based on the report released by Spain's Ministry of Health, Consumption, and Social Welfare, there were 1,051 abortions for every 1,000 women, which represented a drop from the rate of 12.47 per 1,000 in 2011. In 2011, Spain had the highest number of abortions recorded in 10 years: 118,611.

Women between the ages of 20 and 24 had the highest rate of abortion: 17.42 per 1,000 in 2017, which was a bit more than 2016 (16.72). The 20-to-24 age cohort has had the highest incidence of abortion for the last ten years. Women aged 25-29 had an abortion rate of 15.74, while those between ages 30 and 34 had a rate of 12.61 per 1,000. Among girls ages 19 and under, there was a decline in the abortion rate from 8.97 in 2016 to 8.84 in 2017.

Among women under 20, there was a slight decrease from 0.2 percent in 2017 with respect to 2016. In this cohort, there were 9,755 abortions in 2017: 8.84 per 1,000. When compared to the number registered in 2010 for this group, there were 30.92 percent fewer abortions.

According to the government report, abortions were performed in 89.75 percent of the cases at the request of the mother, as permitted by the 2010 abortion law. In only 6.38 percent of the abortions were serious fetal abnormalities cited, while in only 0.30 percent were there fetal abnormalities incompatible with life.

The majority of abortions occurred during or before the eighth month of pregnancy: 70.22 percent. Approximately one out of every four (23.83 percent) occurred during the 9th to the 14th week of gestation, while the remainder were committed at 15 weeks or more of pregnancy. The study showed that 62.7 percent of the mothers had never had abortions before, but 24.41 percent had had at least one prior abortion. In Spain, 8.22 percent had had two prior abortions, while 2.77 percent had experienced at least three abortions.

A profile of the women included in the study showed that 28.25 percent are married or living with a partner; 45.82 percent have living children; 65.33 percent have a high school education; 14.92 are college-educated; 58 percent are working. The majority (66.09 percent) are citizens of Spain. The study also provided a breakdown according to place of residence. The health ministry showed that Spain's Balearic Islands – known for the millions of foreign tourists who visit its resorts – had the highest abortion rate in Spain: 13.94 per 1,000 women. In second place was Madrid (13.07), while Catalonia (of which Barcelona is the capital) came in with 12.89 for every 1,000 women. In relatively poor Rioja and Extremadura, the rates were 6.06 and 6.09 for every 1,000 women, respectively.

Abortion continues to rise in Spain despite the country's grave demographic crisis. Over the last two years, according to official statistics, Spain has had more deaths than births.