The leading PSOE party has today demanded a parliamentary appearance from Luis Alegre, Education Minister for La Rioja, to explain the screening of an anti-abortion video containing 'ideological and political slogans' in one of the region's grant-maintained schools.
Mr Alegre was not prepared to comment on the screening of the video to approximately 135 pupils aged between 14 and 17 at the Purísima Concepción y Santa María Micaela school in Logroño, a video which the PSOE member of parliament, Inmaculada Ortega, claims contains 'anti-government propaganda'.
The school's directors also declined to comment on the video that Ms Ortega says contains 'horrific images of foetuses, condemns a woman's right to voluntarily end a pregnancy and conatins anti-government propaganda, including a direct call not to vote for José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero'.
'These indoctrinating chats are being given during the school timetable and are obligatory,' said Ms Ortega, who believes that 'over and above the ideology of an individual centre, a pupil's human rights and freedom to choose should be respected, not violated as is the case here'.
She also condemned the 'ideological manipulation' and 'moral and political indoctrination' of pupils in a centre maintained by government funds, one that should be 'operating according to the laws drawn up by the Spanish parliament'.
The Secretary General of La Rioja's Federation of Catholic Parents' Associations (CONCAPA), Enrique Domingo Oslé, defended the school's right to show its pupils 'the realities of abortion' saying that it was 'absolutely the right thing to do', but he added that it was 'inappropriate for a video of this type to contain any politicial ideology'.
Domingo Oslé insisted that no-one should be surprised that a Catholic school would preach against abortion as that was part of its ideology. 'What is important,' he said, 'was to show pupils the reality of abortion, because if you don't, they can't make their own minds up.' He recognised that 'showing an abortion in its true light means showing unpleasant images, because that is the reality of abortion.'