Femen topless protest
Feminist group Femen staged a topless protest in the Spanish parliament against the conservative government's planned abortion law reform.

The Spanish government is on a collision course with pro-choice activists with plans to reform abortion laws to make it harder for women to terminate pregnancies.

Under laws introduced by then prime minister José Luis Zapatero in 2010, women could request an abortion within the first 14 weeks. In cases where the mother's health was deemed to be at risk, or when the foetus showed serious deformities, the termination window was extended to 22 weeks.

Justice minister Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon wants to return to a system where abortion is allowed only in the case of rape, or when the physical or mental health of the mother is at stake.

"These changes have more to do with politics and ideology than social realities today in Spain," said Francisca García of the umbrella group that represents 98% of the country's abortion clinics.

García worried that the changes could lead to "abortion tourism" with women travelling to other European countries for terminations.

Restrictions could also spark a public health crisis as women who could not afford to travel turned to illegal clinics for abortions, they warned.

Members of the feminist group Femen staged a topless protest in the Spanish Parliament last October. Three activists chanted "abortion is sacred" during a speech by Ruiz-Gallardon, before being dragged away by ushers.

Critics say the reforms would put women's rights in Spain back by 25 years.