Spanish pro-life campaigners on Friday attempted to prevent doctors aboard an "abortion ship" from carrying out terminations at sea outside Spanish jurisdiction.

A flotilla of anti-abortion protesters followed the Aurora as it took a party of six women from the port of Valencia outside Spanish waters.

The first free abortions were due to start today on board the ship run by the Dutch pro-choice group Women on Waves which aims to put pressure on the Spanish government to reform the current law.

To get around Spain’s strict laws, abortions using medication not surgery were being carried out more than 12 miles out to sea, in international waters.

When the boat arrived last night in Valencia, it was met with 400 demonstrators.

A heavy police presence kept the pro-choice and pro-life campaigners apart.

Opponents dubbed the boat’s arrival a “death party.”

Click here to read more on this story from the Times of London.