Three activists from the feminist group Femen held a topless pro-abortion protest in the public gallery of Madrid’s parliament during a speech by Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon.
Chanting “abortion is sacred”, the three women removed their tops, with one wrapping her arms around a pillar and another balancing from the gallery railing before the trio were finally dragged away by ushers. The demonstrators’ action drew scattered applause from a handful of opposition deputies.
Following the protest, one woman was identified as Lara Alcazar, the leader of Femen in Spain, the other two activists are reportedly French.
Spain’s abortion laws are to be reformed, overseen by Mr Ruiz-Gallardon, which is widely predicted to make them more restrictive. Under current laws passed by the previous Socialist government in 2010, abortion is available under all circumstances up until the 14th week of pregnancy and up to 22 weeks if the foetus is deformed.
Mr Ruiz-Gallardon criticised the protest as a “total lack of respect for popular sovereignty, as embodied in Congress”.
Following their removal from parliament, the three women, who had “Abortion is Sacred” painted on their upper bodies, were taken into police custody.
Ms Alcazar was released, although she is due to receive a court summons about the protest. In Spain, the penalties for unauthorised protests in parliament range from fines up to a year in prison.