Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Marching Against Abortion, But Only When The Left Are In Power

As my post on the Gürtel case is still very much a work in progress let's turn our attention to last weekend's demonstration against the Spanish government's proposed abortion law reform. It's extremely bad manners to organise such a major demonstration of Madrid's permanently angry right when I'm still on holiday but we'll let that pass. Were you there? If we believe the reports in the right wing press, it would be easy to get the impression that almost the whole Spanish population turned out for the event. A tidal wave of decent Spaniards marching united against Zapatero the baby killer.

Well not quite. Despite the now habitual claims by the organisers, the sympathetic press and the Comunidad de Madrid of a million or two attending, it seems that the true number fell well short of 100,000. Apart from those who habitually attend these events to estimate numbers, there is a new kid on the block. A company called Lynce claims that it has software which can count the number of people occupying a given space from aerial photos. Such a method would obviously be open to question in a genuine march which starts at one point and ends at another as you have to take into account the movement of the participants. Fortunately, that's not the case for the demonstrations organised by the Partido Popular and allies; they are generally static affairs concentrating crowds in a prominent Madrid street for the benefit of the Telemadrid helicopter. The PP doesn't walk.

Since we're on the subject of Telemadrid it's worth noting that the channel did its very best to encourage participation in the demonstration, virtually the only thing lacking was a direct instruction from the Lideresa herself for viewers to desert their sofas and take to the streets.

Santa Esperanza was of course there, and was joined by Jaime Mayor Oreja and none other than the Moustachioed Crusader, Jose Maria Aznar. The latter was accorded superstar treatment by many of the nostalgics who so fondly remember his time in office. Oddly, for a demonstration against abortion, none of them appeared to remember that during Aznar's time in office it's estimated that approximately 500,000 abortions took place in Spain. We can't be on the streets all the time was the excuse offered for this memory lapse by one of the organisers, who appeared to have forgotten that he occupied a position in the same government. PP leader Mariano Rajoy simply forgot to go, although he claims that he didn't want to politicise the event! The PP has now said it will introduce it's own reform when it returns to office, although the party refuses to spell out even a single detail of what that reform will involve. The signs from the turnout, habitual exaggerations apart, are that abortion doesn't even get the full PP hardcore support onto the streets, never mind the less rabid voters they need to attract if they are to stand a chance of winning an election.

If we needed a reminder of why the abortion reform is necessary it came a few days ago. In my first post on this subject I mentioned the case of a fishing exercise carried out by members of the Guardia Civil eager to find evidence of illegal activity at a Madrid abortion clinic called Isadora. This included doorstepping women who had been to the clinic and subsequently the judicial decision to allow an extremist anti-abortion organisation to involve itself in the case. The case has finally been stopped, because not a single indication of illegal activity had been found. Despite the absolute lack of evidence, a handful of police officers and a sympathetic judge have been allowed to intimidate women who had taken the (never easy) decision to have an abortion under the existing legislation.


Pueblo girl said...

Two things:
I don't know if you saw this, but the bishop of Huesca (or was it Jaen? Same difference) suddenly discovered gender equality and called the reform "machista and injust". He seems to have forgotten that not so long ago (and still today in certain circles), his organisation used to tell battered women that their place was beside their violent husbands. So much for the church's gender equality agenda.

Secondly, a day or so after, the TVE2 channel showed a film called "Los crímenes del Padre Amoro", about a priest who gets his girlfriend pregnant, and insists she has a backstreet abortion where she predictably dies. Nice programmng, TVE2!

Judith said...

Alas, no subtitles...any chance of a rundown in English for the hard of hearing?

Graeme said...

Sorry Judith, the South of Watford media budget doesn't stretch to subtitles. The message can more or less be summarised as "Don't forget to go to the demonstration you dummies".

@Pueblo girl

No doubt the bishop of Huesca-Jaen is already on his way to the Vatican to press the case for gender equality there. I've seen the film, if I remember rightly the Church wasn't exactly delighted with it.

ejh said...

Huesca and Jaca, the latter (a resident of Huesca province writes) being slightly closer to the former than is Jáen.

Troy said...

Jesus! (tongue firmly in cheek)...have you seen the hubbub in the comment section of the recent guardian CIF post over this?

Graeme said...


That ruins his chances of becoming Pope, when they find out its only Jaca


Yes, I saw the piece the other day - it reminded me of why I've more or less stopped participating in Cif debates. Too many trolls.

Troy said...

Completely agree...I have one at the moment clinging to me like a nasty virus.

Andrew said...

On the subject of abortion - the Guttmacher Institute, reported in the Economist of OCT 17th shines a light on what is happening world wide.
Conclusions - liberalsing abortion does not increase the number of abortions.
Criminalising abortions leads to deaths and other medical complications. (70k women p.a die from amateur abortions)

The criminals in the vatican who object to birth control also condem many to aids.

Liberalisation of abortion is just pratical common sense and combined with birth control leads to less women having to make dangerous decisions.

Graeme said...

Couldn't agree more Andrew. In a similar vein I read a few weeks ago that those states in the US where they went furthest during the Bush era in restricting sex education and advice on contraception are also those where the rate of teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases is rising at the highest rate.