The CitizenGO Foundation in Spain has filed criminal charges againt a Madrid abortion clinic for vandalism and acts of hatred against a new crisis pregnancy centre. The charges stem from acts of vandalism that took place in March and April of 2021, coinciding with the opening of the pregnancy centre Refugio ProVida (Pro-Life Refuge).
The non-profit is suing the abortion clinic, Clinca Dator, the largest abortion clinic in Spain according to CitizenGo. The pregnancy centre is located across the street from the clinic to provide information and assistance to women considering abortion. To let women know that help is nearby, the clinic advertises, brightly and boldly. On the windows of the pregnancy centre, large, colourful vinal coverings with smiling babies remind everyone passing by that abortion is not the only option and that by choosing abortion, parents miss out on the life of their child.
Opening the centre was part of a response to a law that went into effect in April, criminalizing (as a form of assault) prayer vigils held outside abortion clinics, or offering information to women approaching the clinic.
According to the charges filed by CitizenGO, the first act of vandalism occurred on the eve of the opening of the pregnancy centre, March 7th. At 12:45 that night, five women and a man were seen by witnesses painting feminist messages on the banner. According to the accounts of the witnesses, the man appeared to be the leader of the group. The witnesses called the police, who arrived in time to arrest four of the women.
But they had not been caught soon enough. The next morning, pregnancy centre staff and supporters found the smiling babies covered by feminist messages including, “Get your rosaries out of our ovaries” and “Get out of our neighbourhood, assaulters.”
In the days following the centre’s opening, the Clinica Dator sent out several Tweets and retweets calling Refugio ProVida “an assault centre. Some tweets declared “we cannot allow this” and “we have to do something.”
Two more incidents of vandalism occurred on March 9th and 11th. An alarm system and a surveillance camera were then installed in the pregnancy centre.
About two weeks later, just after the centre replaced the destroyed window coverings, they were vandalised again on the evening of March 24th. Two more incidents of vandalism occurred in April.
Between repairs and the needed security system, the vandalism had cost CitizenGO approximately €5,000.
Bridget Ryder is Spain-based writer. She has written on politics, environment, and culture for American and international publications. She holds degrees in Spanish and Catholic Studies.