BARCELONA, June 28, 2011 ( – Protesters gathered outside of the Santa Creu and Sant Pau Hospital on Saturday to protest the institution’s practice of killing the unborn, as well as its ongoing relationship with the Catholic Archdiocese of Barcelona.

Led by Fr. Custodio Ballester and other Catholic priests of the diocese, protesters under the banner of Catalonia Yes to Life (Cataluña Vida Sí) marched with the slogan “No to abortion…and especially not in a hospital linked to the Church.” The march began at the Sant Pau hospital and ended at the Holy Family Basilica. During the march protesters prayed the rosary and finished with the Salve Regina (Hail Holy Queen) prayer.

Fr. Custodio Ballester denounced the failure to act by the authorities of the Archdiocese of Barcelona, who have been informed repeatedly of the fact that abortions are being performed at the hospital, despite the fact that archdiocesan representatives sit on the board of directors.

Ballester has written directly to Barcelona’s Cardinal Archbishop Lluís Martínez Sistach to ask him to address the situation but says he has received no response.  Vatican officials have expressed concern about the relationship with the hospital and say they have contacted local authorities to ask them to address the problem. However, the archdiocese has stonewalled the complaints for months.

Although unnamed archdiocesan officials recently told the Spanish newspaper ABC that orders have been given to stop the abortions at the facility, pro-lifers protesting the situation are skeptical.  No official statement on the matter has yet been given by the archdiocese or the hospital.

“If abortions are not being done in the Sant Creu and Sant Pau Hospital, and if the abortion pill is not being dispensed, the government of Catalonia should deny it immediately and strongly,” said the Cross of Saint Andrew Association, one of the sponsors of the protests, in a press release following the demonstration.

The protest was also attended by Monserrat Sanmartí of the I Want to Live Association (Quiero Vivir), who presented the newly established Project Rachel, a program for post-abortion healing. Tania Fernández, president of Barcelona Right to Life, and a representative of Catlalonia Yes to Life, gave testimonies and discussed strategies for winning the struggle for the right to life.