Femen stages topless pro-abortion protest in Spain parliament

Femen stages topless pro-abortion protest in Spain parliament

MADRID - Three women from the feminist movement Femen staged a topless protest in the Spanish parliament on Wednesday against the conservative government's plans for a stricter abortion law.

The women took off their t-shirts and chanted "abortion is sacred" from the public gallery as Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz Gallardon, who is preparing the abortion law reform, spoke about another issue.

One of the women mounted the barrier that separates the public gallery from lawmakers who were seated below while another wrapped her arms around a pillar as she shouted at the politicians.

Parliament ushers dragged away the three women, who had the slogan "abortion is sacred" written on their chests, as some opposition lawmakers applauded the protesters.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's government has vowed to present by the end of the month changes to a liberal abortion law passed in 2010 by the then Socialist government.

Rajoy's conservative Popular Party and the Roman Catholic Church have hotly opposed the 2010 abortion law, which allows abortion up to 14 weeks of pregnancy or up to 22 weeks if the foetus is deformed. An earlier 1985 law decriminalised abortion only in cases of rape, deformation of the foetus or serious physical or psychological risks to the mother.

The Constitutional Court has ratified the 1985 law but has not yet ruled on a Popular Party appeal against the 2010 abortion reform.

Femen was founded in Ukraine in 2008 and first drew international attention when activists destroyed Ukrainian Orthodox crucifixes.

The protesters have drawn attention worldwide with nude stunts targeting a range of political and religious figures, including Silvio Berlusconi and Vladimir Putin.

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