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Mass held in Spain backs new abortion law

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December 29, 2013 11:35 AM EST | AP


MADRID (AP) — Thousands of people have attended a Mass in Madrid to honor family values and support government moves aimed at tightening restrictions on abortion in Spain.

Archbishop Antonio Rouco Varela led Sunday's outdoor service in Colon square and said "the gift of life" should be considered sacred and not tampered with.

The conservative government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on Dec. 20 gave his Cabinet approval for a new abortion law that would allow terminations only in the case of rape or when there is a serious health risk to the mother or fetus. Such a law would need to be approved by Parliament, where the government has a large majority.

Pope Francis gave his blessing for Sunday's Mass via a video link from the Vatican.