Stripped to the waist and yelling “abortion is sacred,” five activists from feminist group Femen confronted Cardinal Antonio María Rouco Varela, head of Spain’s bishops, on his way to hold Mass on Sunday.
The anti-abortion protestors also hurled several pairs of red-dyed panties at the conservative archbishop of Madrid as he got out of his car and tried to make his way into a church in the city center at around 8pm.
Escorted by parish priests, Rouco managed to enter the church on Palma street, while the activists, who had “Femen” written across their bare torsos, shouted anti-abortion slogans.
After the main door of the church was closed, the demonstrators continued to protest along the streets surrounding the church, accompanied by applause from several passers-by.
Video uploaded by YouTube user Redpeoplex
The new legislation aims to restrict a woman’s right to interrupt her pregnancy, allowing terminations in only two situations: in cases of rape or when the birth poses a threat to the mother’s life or health. Currently, abortion on demand exists up to 14 weeks of pregnancy. The proposed law also prevents women from being able to seek the procedure in the case of fetal deformity – unless continuing with the pregnancy would endanger the child’s life.
The man behind the reform, Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón, gave his “word” at the PP national party conference on Sunday that neither shouts not insults would make him back down from pushing through the new legislation.
“You have my word that there will be no screams or any insults that will see this minister abandon his commitment to comply with the [PP] platform to regulate the rights of women and the unborn,” Gallardón said at the conference in Valladolid. “We are not talking about moral issues, electoral advantages, but instead the defense of fundamental rights.”