Today, women, and men, all over Europe are out in protest. Why? Because senior Spanish politicians, led by Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon, the Minister of Justice in the right-wing Spanish government, have introduced a bill that will make abortion all but illegal in Spain. This measure is opposed, according to the latest polls, by over 70% of the Spanish electorate, which considers the existing law adequate, and is a sop to right-wing conservatives
This attempt is a shocking example of how the religious right interferes in the lives of others, and specifically, attempts to remove their human rights. Ruiz-Gallardon may dress his nasty little bill up as ‘protecting the most vulnerable – the unborn’ but it is far from that and in fact is just another example of how the patriarchy attempts to disenfranchise half the population in its own interests.
In the UK, in France, and of course in Spain, huge numbers are coming together to challenge this attack on a principal right of women – to control their own fertility. It is not for any man to interfere in this, in any way. Until a foetus is capable of independent life it is not a human being, and has no rights as such. The religious argument centres on the idea of a ‘soul’ which has never been shown to exist. Politicians must not be allowed to use these debased, populist arguments to disenfranchise actual human beings.
The current Spanish Government, led by Mariano Rajoy, has already shown itself to be a throwback to Spain’s right-wing, Imperialist past, in his condemnation of Catalan voices for self-determination – another fundamental human right which conservatives would deny.
I can’t go to Madrid, Paris or London today, but I want to make public my support for all the protesters who are there, and for all women, everywhere, who are denied their rights by the patriarchy. The religious right is growing in strength again, and it must be resisted. Its history is clear: it is intolerant and totalitarian, and cares not one bit for the rights of those it oppresses.
Personally, I am beginning to wonder whether it might not be better just to remove the vote, and any right to political power, from men, altogether.
After all, women had to suffer exactly that for thousands of years.