News/Spain: Spanish police arrest two for illegal abortions

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Subject: News/Spain: Spanish police arrest two for illegal abortions
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Mon Aug 16 1999 - 11:07:02 EDT


Spanish police arrest two for illegal abortions
August 13, 1999

MADRID (Reuters) - Spanish police have arrested two men accused of using
rusty tools and crude methods to carry out hundreds of back-alley abortions
on Chinese immigrants working as prostitutes, officials said Thursday.

Police detained two Chinese men -- neither of whom had medical
qualifications -- and raided four buildings in the center of the Spanish
capital Tuesday.

``The women we found were in such a bad state. It was like something out of
a horror film,'' said Jose Luis Povres, head of the police department
investigating the case.

Detectives confiscated thousands of bottles of out-of-date medicine, rusty
and unsterilized instruments and medical notes on 1000 women who visited
two makeshift abortion clinics.

They said the men performed abortions using medicines to make the women
hemorrhage and a household vacuum cleaner to remove the fetus.

Police were alerted of the wave of clandestine abortions in late July by an
illegal Chinese woman who had gone to the men for an abortion.

She had been forced into prostitution to pay off the $12,780 fee to be
smuggled into Spain from China, according to police.

``These women are victims of the Chinese mafia,'' said Povres.

Police say the Chinese mafia control much of the illegal immigration from
China to Spain, and make vast amounts of money from women who are forced
into prostitution to pay off the smuggling fee.

Police have struggled to gather evidence because the women who become
pregnant are reluctant to come forward. Fears about their illegal status,
language barriers, and a suspicion of Western medicine often lead the women
to have illegal abortions or lose their only source of income.

``It is very difficult for women in this situation to put their trust in
the Spanish authorities,'' said Povres.


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