An increased sentiment for restricting the right to abortion, particularly after last year's video showing a Mexican couple who travelled to the U.S. to have a baby, provoked a debate in January. Its date was somewhat coincidental with the European Week of Action Against Contraception, a movement supported by the German church, which officially begins today. And while there is no correlation between the two events, in our region the question of whether to prohibit abortions seems to have reached a status that would surprise even the most ambitious of the forces behind the abortifacient.
Abortion rights, for instance, were freed from legal constraints in the Czech Republic in 2000. Less than a month after the event, the deputy leader of the National Assembly Alena Salus, voiced her opinion that access to the procedure should be restricted.
The Roman Catholic Church's Regnum Christi station, released a prepared speech by Salus entitled "Abortion and its consequences are not moral" (spoiled by the familiar "anasci" in Spanish). She insisted that a great number of female entrepreneurs couldn't simply live with the first pregnancy, for instance, and that banning a woman from aborting is not at all defending her rights.
The director of the Hospital Grunewald, Bridgette Datlin, has requested every pregnant woman in the country to register her number by registering herself on a system used to track consumers in the supermarkets. The aim is to use the results for opening subsidized clinics, presumably free of charge. A.S., the daily Pravda, says that between 1999 and 2008, the practice resulted in the additional vaccination of 50,000 children. It's difficult to believe that Datlin would actually carry out such an experiment and not use the results to promote her own abortion clinics.
The Roman Catholic Church helped abolish abortion in the Czech Republic but afterwards tried to force the government to join Poland in banning the procedure. Disappointed by the results of the legislative campaign, it ordered to investigate whether it could, on the grounds of spiritual duty, assign abortion to a priest.
In Poland, Beribaha Muzyk, head of the Catholic Federation of Poland, "recommended" (literally, a former act of violence) that women go to hospitals and declare themselves unwilling to continue a pregnancy, which the hospital staff would administer a caesarean section or an artificial abortion. In Switzerland, where abortions remain legal, Pope Benedict XVI decreed that all Catholic doctors would refuse to perform abortions "in any form" in religious hospitals. The European Union ruled that the comment was against EU law and that it violated the free movement of people.
'Blazing the Past Pastures'
The Feminist Unit of the Catholic Church recently changed the name of its weekly magazine to L'artista, in English, to inspire would-be fighters. The magazine, for instance, had previously referred to abortion as "an abortion murder." An ironic situation in that a few months ago the state guaranteed the legal right to abortion and allowed individuals and couples to carry children to term. But an anti-abortion movement which targets "ridiculous decrees" is beginning to take hold in the continent.
The decision to alter the very name of the feminist journal and to spend so much time, effort and financial means in revolting against the opinion of the state is unbecoming. One should not forget that the Catholic Church currently has the majority in each of the nation's most populous states, in fact every one. The agenda of the Church is therefore unassailable.
Most recently in Greece, the patriarch of Evangelical Bloc of Greece declared to a group of local protestors that "those who have a uterus are not human." The protests at the Greek asylum ministry continue to grow larger and become more violent every day. An astoundingly tame Friday demonstration even included groups of priests who tried to enforce strict rules from the church in order to attend the ministry.
All the while within the popular and the Vatican, bishops continue their campaign to persuade public opinion that abortion is a crime and an exception to abortion laws.
Today abortion is still a delicate issue that is met with indifference and a resistance from the public. L'artista l'ha fatto ancora.
This post was translated from Spanish by Emma Marcegaglia