Month: June 2014

WATCH: Protest at Spanish Embassy, London, June 2014

Thanks to Carles for coming to the protest and shooting such a fab video!

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Police Brutality at Madrid Prochoice Protest

My Belly is Mine protested peacefully at the Spanish Embassy on Friday, the 27th of June, 2014 against the Spanish antiabortion law. We had taken the lead from the Spanish Federation of Feminist Organizations, also known as Coordinadora Feminista, which had announced that it was protesting against the law in front of the Spanish Ministry of Justice, in Madrid, that day. The location for their protest was apposite as the main force behind this unjust law is Spain’s Justice Minister, Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón. The date was also appropriate to begin with, as the government had announced that the draft bill would be entering parliament on the 27th. At the very last minute, however, Gallardón postponed the bill’s entry to parliament  to coincide with the antichoice conference in Madrid. Nevertheless, the protests around Spain and in Madrid, not to mention abroad (Berlin, Vienna, Lisbon, Marseille, Burgundy, Montevideo…), went ahead.

Unfortunately, towards the end of the protest in Madrid, as protesters were leaving, tension erupted between police and protestors. Here’s a video that was taken by witness to the incident, Mario Munera. It’s clear that Spanish police were more than heavy-handed in their approach to controlling the crowds:

In support of our fellow activists in Spain, who should be free to protest and defend the rights of their countrywomen, we would like to express our condemnation of the unnecessary brutality of the Spanish police.

Protest at the Spanish Embassy, London

Yesterday, 27th of June, 2014, My Belly is Mine, in collaboration with Irish prochoice activists Speaking of I.M.E.L.D.A and the Spanish Women’s Assembly from the 15M movement, protested at the Spanish Embassy in London against the antiabortion law that the Partido Popular are attempting to pass in Spain.

canticos4

We congregated with around 70 supporters in front of the embassy and read out the following joint statement in English and Spanish:

We have come together at the Spanish Embassy in London to protest the regressive antiabortion law that will soon enter the Spanish parliament. And we are not alone! Prochoice campaigners stand shoulder to shoulder with us today at this very moment in time in Berlin, Vienna, Lisbon, Marseille, Lima, Montevideo, Florence, Paris, Reggio Calabria, Bordeaux, Madrid, Las Palmas, Coruña, Murcia, Alicante, Almería, Cáceres, Barcelona, Ourense, Pontevedra, Santiago de Compostela, Tenerife, Vigo, Oviedo, Valencia and many more will be protesting over the next few days. We are the majority and we know that we are on the side of democracy and human rights.  
Bea from the Women's Assembly reads the joint statement in Spanish.

Bea from the Women’s Assembly reads the joint statement in Spanish.

Just as we knew would happen, the Spanish government has waited until the summer holidays to pass the new antiabortion law, as quietly and as surreptitiously as possible. In a week, the bill begins its parliamentary process to eventually become law: it will be a law that means no Spanish woman will be able to make decisions regarding her own body and motherhood. 
Cristina, from My Belly is Mine, reads the joint statement in English.

Cristina, from My Belly is Mine, reads the joint statement in English.

This law is even more reactionary than the one passed by the socialist government of Felipe Gonzalez in 1985. It takes Spanish women’s rights back to the time of Franco, to the time of clandestine abortions for the poor, lonely trips to London for those who had the money or managed to scrape the money together and forced motherhood for those who don’t have the strength or time for lengthy and tortuous bureaucratic procedure. This is a law that nobody asked for. A law that the overwhelming majority of Spanish citizens said they did not want.
There has been one tiny concession by the Spanish government: fetus abnormality will now be accepted as a reason for termination. With this concession, the government wants us to believe that it is willing to engage and negotiate.  We are under no illusion. We see this fascist government for what it is. We know that even in the case of fetal abnormality, women will be subjected to humiliating medical bureaucracy intended to show them that they are not allowed to decide what happens to their own body.
The Spanish Women’s Assembly, My Belly is Mine and Speaking of I.M.E.L.D.A have come together to protest this law from the United Kingdom. We are proof again of the historic solidarity that has existed between British, Irish and Spanish women. British women have always welcomed both Irish and Spanish women onto UK soil for their terminations. Irish and Spanish activists fought together in the 80s just as we are doing today. We are well aware this law is not just a result of the Spanish right or the Spanish Catholic Church, but in times of austerity, women’s rights are always eroded, and they are forced into the role of housewife and mother. This happens to women everywhere, not just in Spain. 
We are going to protest all this summer in London. We are distributing leaflets with our contact details. We are also taking down email addresses. Please join us to oppose this law. We must show the Spanish government that we will not allow this law to pass without opposition. They may use their majority in parliament, but we will use our majority on the streets to fight tooth and nail to defend the rights of women. 
 
Isabel Ros López, an activist who was a key member in the Spanish Women’s Abortion Support Group (SWASG) also spoke, stating “this law is simply about control over women and their bodies”:
Active in the 80s, Isabel thought Spain would never return to the days of backstreet abortions

Active in the 80s, Isabel thought Spain would never return to the days of backstreet abortions

 

Isabel is living proof that we can never take our rights for granted. Indeed, the SWASG assisted women from Spain during the 80s who came to London to seek abortion. Furthermore, SWASG collaborated with the Irish Women’s Support Group (IWASG).

Comedian, activist and vice-chair of Abortion Rights, the UK campaign for abortion, Kate Smurthwaite also showed up to support our campaign and addressed the crowd. In her speech, Kate reminded us that the opposite of abortion is forced pregnancy, a cruel and perverse form of punishment:

Comedian and activist, Kate Smurthwaite addresses the crowd.

Comedian and activist Kate Smurthwaite addresses the crowd.

 

The crowd then faced the embassy to chant:

Chanting  facing
chants

And finally, we crossed the street to get our pictures taken in front of the embassy:

embassyl
embassy
 
 
 

Swanky do at the Spanish Embassy in London

On Wednesday the 25th of June, 2014, the Spanish Ambassador in London, Federico Trillo, hosted a reception for the British Spanish Society. My Belly is Mine turned up uninvited alongside direct action feminist group Speaking of I.M.E.L.D.A and the Spanish Women’s Assembly from the 15M movement in London. We wanted to remind the Ambassador, his guests and passersby that the rights of women are under serious threat in Spain.

 

Tell Me Another…

On Friday,  the Spanish antiabortion draft bill, know unofficially as Gallardón’s Law, and officially as The organic law for the protection of the life of the conceived and the rights of the pregnant woman (whatever), will be taken to parliament.

Here’s looking at you, kid.

Thousands upon thousands of people have marched the streets not just in Spain but all over Europe, North and South America time and time again to protest this law since it was announced in December 2013. Prochoice campaigners worldwide have tirelessly told Gallardón and his government that women should be the ones to decide if and when they want to become mothers. Spanish citizens the length and the breadth of the country also responded to surveys saying they were not happy with the proposed abortion reform. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are just two of the international organisations that have publicly condemned the reform. But did Gallardón listen? Of course he didn’t. He replied by saying that “no insult” would deter him in his mission to protect the rights of the unborn.

And now an article in The Irish Times, citing government sources via the Spanish daily El País, claims that the Spanish government has bowed to the pressure of the protests by implementing changes in the bill that will allow women to terminate pregnancies when the foetus presents abnormalities. There may be some gullible enough to believe Rajoy’s government, firstly, cares one iota about what its citizens want, secondly, has genuinely listened to the voices of the people and, finally, is willing to negotiate the terms of the reform. Indeed, prochoice campaigners and activists saw this concession coming along for miles. It was always Gallardón’s strategy to present the bill in its most radical form and to then eliminate its more controversial aspects thus appeasing less radical Partido Popular voters and members within the party and fooling some into believing he’s not such a bad chap after all. With headlines such as this: Spain’s abortion legislation ‘changed after protests’, Gallardón’s ploy seems to be having its intended effect.

BERLIN, MARSEILLE, MONTEVIDEO, VIENNA, LISBON, MADRID…

…are all protesting against Spanish abortion reform this Friday 27th of June. Join us in London too to let the Spanish government know that we stand by the women and girls of Spain, that we will not back down until abortion is fully decriminalized and a safe and legal option for every one of them.

 

 

 

Déjà Vu for Spanish Women

This photograph is doing the rounds on Twitter.

Déjá Vu for Spanish women who are seeing their rights eroded again

I don’t know who it is by (and I will be happy to credit or remove, if they contact us) but it was accompanied by the following statement in Spanish and which I translated into English:

Spanish women protested abortion laws, saw their daughters protest abortion laws,  and now they are seeing their granddaughters protest abortion laws.

History repeating itself once more.

As the Bill Proceeds through Parliament…

This Friday (27th of June), the Spanish antiabortion draft bill, known as Gallardón’s law after the minister whose brainchild it is, will begin its process through the Spanish parliament.

Follow My Belly is Mine on Twitter to keep up to date with latest events, developments and our actions in London over the summer to protest this law.

My Belly is Mine at the Southbank, aided by a British bobby

My Belly is Mine at the Southbank, aided by a British bobby

“Justice” Minister Gallardón and his son are above the law

Spanish “Justice” Minister, Alberto Ruíz-Gallardón, the man behind one of the most cruel, misogynist and regressive laws in recent Spanish history, is forging ahead with his antiabortion draft bill despite international organisations such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International condemning his proposed law.

Daddy will get me out of this one…

The man who believes he can decide the fate of thousands of Spanish women, however, is reluctant to divulge any information on his son, José Ruiz Gallardón Utrera, who was recently accused of being involved in a car accident and of fleeing the scene by taking refuge in his father’s house. Spain’s “Justice” Minister said of the incident: “it’s a family matter”. Since when are criminal investigations a family matter? Gallardón Sr. is not only an autocrat but he also clearly assumes he and his family are above the law.