How the so-called pro-life movements are attacking women

The city council of Verona has approved a motion supporting local anti-abortion associations, and has declared Verona "a city in favor of life".

Cinzia Sciuto
Cinzia Sciuto MicroMega, Italy
Source: MicroMega
How the so-called pro-life movements are attacking women - NewsMavens
Women protesting in Verona.

Why this story matters:

"Constitutional democracy was not born out of rights, but out of promises. It was not created containing, for example, the right to divorce, the right to terminate a pregnancy, or equal rights and obligations between spouses, and civil unions. In short, when we denounce the assault on these freedoms, we must keep in mind that these were not granted to us by constitutional democracy, but it is constitutional democracy that gave us the opportunity to pursue them" -- writes political scientist Nadia Urbinati in "La Repubblica" this week.

This means that enjoying those rights necessarily implies a constant struggle to defend them, to never consider them acquired once and for all. There are two reasons for this. The first is that, by definition, freedom is never fully acquired. For example, the laws on divorce and abortion in Italy, despite having represented veritable social revolutions, are nevertheless compromises leaving ample room for improvement.

The second reason is that those rights can be lost, much like they were gained.The ideological and political forces that had opposed them have not magically vanished into thin air but still exist and tend to resurface when the opportunity occurs. And this is one of those moments in Italy, but also in many other parts of Europe.

These are times when reactionary, misogynistic and homophobic forces raise their heads, hypocritically waving "pro-life" slogans that simply hide fanaticism and fundamentalism.

The motion in Verona (which has inspired  ultra-conservative political groups in other cities, like Fratelli d'Italia in Ferrara), the Pillon bill on the custody of children in the event of divorce, the statements of the families minister Lorenzo Fontana on gays, the fascist-like anti-LGBT campaigns of Forza Nuova, and the horrible posters against surrogacy plastered all over our cities are all signs of this reactionary, misogynist and homophobic regurgitation that must be stopped before it is much too late.

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Details from the story:

  • On October 4, with 21 votes in favor and six against, the city council of Verona approved a motion of the Lega which declares Verona "a city in favor of life" and provides funding to Catholic associations that carry out initiatives against abortion.
  • Carla Padovani, leader of the Democrats, has voted in favor of the motion, thus creating considerable controversy within her party.
  • Activists from the movement "Not One Woman Less/Non Una Di Meno" protested at the city council while wearing costumes similar to those of the TV series "The Handmaid's Tale".
  • A week after the motion was approved, thousands of people from all over Italy -- most of them women -- took to the streets in Verona to protest against the motion and to defend the current law on the interruption of pregnancy
  • Several other cities have proposed similar motions following Verona's example.

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