Fighting for something we thought we had won

Thousands of people got together in Madrid today to voice their opposition to government plans to take away abortion rights.

Under pressure from the Catholic Church, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s conservative government announced on December 20 it would roll back a 2010 law that allows women to opt freely for abortion in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy.

The new law — yet to pass parliament, where the ruling People’s Party enjoys an absolute majority — would allow abortion only in cases of rape or a threat to the physical or psychological health of the mother.

Other than that, laydeez, tough shit – you’re stuck with it unless god sends you a miscarriage. No whining. It doesn’t matter if you’re poor and can’t afford it, if you’re in school and don’t feel ready to be a mother, if your husband or boyfriend just left you, if you just have absolutely no desire at all to have a child – you are stuck with it. If you don’t like it you should have plugged that sinful thing up with cement.

The move has outraged pro-choice campaigners, who say the legislation would roll back the decades in Spain, returning to conditions similar to those of a more restrictive 1985 law or even the 1939-1975 dictatorship of Francisco Franco.

“I would never have imagined we would find ourselves back here, fighting for something we thought we had won,” said 57-year-old protestor Maria Pilar Sanchez.

“We don’t want to turn the clock back 40 years. Having an abortion used to be a crime in Spain. We don’t want to return to that.”

You don’t, but the fascists and the Catholics and the falangists and the “family values” bullies do.

Opposition politicians joined the march, including United Left party leader Cayo Lara, who said the proposed law represented only “the most fundamentalist sectors of the religious hierarchy and the most fanatic Francoists”.

The new bill would toughen the conditions for aborting in cases of malformation of the foetus, which the current law authorises freely up to 22 weeks.

Because that’s a decision for legislators, not for the woman who has to take care of the eventual baby.

In Spain, Rajoy’s government has repeatedly postponed the abortion reform, reportedly struggling with internal dissent, after promising in its 2011 election campaign to tighten the rules.

The delay has drawn cries of impatience from the Roman Catholic Church hierarchy.

Last April, the head of Spain’s Catholic Church, Cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco Varela, said the 2010 law had “led to a rise in the number of abortions to terrifying levels”.

Well clearly it’s the job of a Cardinal to decide whether women can get an abortion or not. Cardinals are ideally placed to decide that because they are officially unmarried and childless and celibate, all of which makes them experts on what’s best for women who don’t want to be pregnant right now.

Proponents of the bill have called their own demonstration for Sunday in Madrid to fight what they call a “phobia of family”.

Oh yeah? Have they said anything to the church about that? The church is officially family-phobic. The church is an institution based on all-male all-bachelor all-celibate rule. It’s run by men who are officially permanently outside of families. That’s more family-phobic than anything else I can think of.

There’s also the fact that wanting to be able to decide for oneself when and if to marry and when and if to have children is not the same thing as affirmatively wanting never to marry and never to have children. There’s also the fact that even affirmatively wanting never to marry and never to have children isn’t necessarily the same thing as being family-phobic: it can be a matter of just not wanting it for oneself, while still thinking it’s a great thing for people who do want it, and/or a matter of wanting forms of family that don’t involve child-rearing.

I hope their demonstration tomorrow is a complete dud.



  1. Havok says

    I wonder if you could argue that the very real risks pregnancy holds for the mother – both physical and psychological, would count as a “a threat to the physical or psychological health of the mother.”

  2. Karen Locke says

    Down, hackles, down. Must be civil here. Oh, to hell with it… I’m too angry to think of something civil to say. The best I can come up with is Die, Disgusting Church!

  3. Stevarious, Public Health Problem says

    Hmm, I wonder how long before the Church starts kidnapping children from their mothers in the hospital again.

    Assuming that they ever really stopped.

  4. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says


    It all depends on how determined government is on denying women the right to abort. Unfortunately, they seem pretty determined.

    In different circumstances, that part of the law could be used to allow for pretty much any abortion. You have a decent doctor, all you have to do is confirm that keeping the pregnancy would cause you significant psychological harm and there you go.
    But sadly, it doesn’t look like this is just a cosmetic change to appease the RCC. They’re going full anti-woman here.

  5. karmacat says

    I am so frustrated and angry that these celibate, holier than thou men are making decisions about and ultimately other children’s fates. Poverty is perpetuated when people cannot control how many children they have. I have a fantasy that everyone will bring their crying, screaming babies to the Vatican. Or put the Vatican hierarchy on a plane with lots of screaming babies. Also, the Catholic church should not be able to talk about these issues until they put their own in order. They need to apologize and compensate the victims of the church. It is not likely to happen but I can always dream

  6. Amy Clare says

    I wonder if Spain is like the UK in the sense that the people who want to restrict and ultimately ban abortion are the same people who judge single mothers and say poor women are disgusting for having too many babies.

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