Madrid Declaration

Who’s going to the party? II

Just another selection of the lovely people who are attending the antichoice conference in Madrid today. There will be a nice official reception hosted by the mayoress of Madrid, Ana Botella, later on in the day. Such fun.

Christine Boutin

This French ex-MP, who claims Spain is spearheading progress with its antiabortion law, stated on one point ” We are being overrun with gays“.

Carlo Casini

Head of the Italian antichoice movement, Carlo Casini, a MEP, declared: “Both child and mother are victims of abortion”.

Jan Figel

Jan Figel, vice-president of the Slovakian parliament, halted the gay marriage bill in his country. Although gay marriage finally became legal this year, Figel is adamant that marriage should be between a man and a woman.

Christopher O. Tollefsen

Tollefsen is professor of philosophy at the University of South Carolina and co-author of Embryo: A Defense of Human Life. According to El Diario, he is quoted as saying: “I think it’s normal for a prolifer (sic) opposed to abortion to become a prolifer (sic) who advocates chastity in and out of marriage”. Figure that one out.

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Who’s going to the party?

Today and tomorrow, to the shame of Spain, a reputedly 21st century European country, an antichoice conference, organised by the Popular Party (Spain’s governing conservative party) will be held in the capital city of Madrid. The conference is called “The International Seminar on the Right to Life” and  Madrid’s mayoress Ana Botella (wife of creepy ex-conservative PM José María Aznar) will be welcoming attendees with open arms via an official reception.

Abortion is murder, yadda yadda yadda…

Parliamentarians, professors of philosophy and of genetics, ex-MPs, ex-European commissioners, amongst others, are just some of the attendees at this antichoice knees up, designed to provide Gallardón’s antiabortion bill with international scientific and legislative authority and credibility. This jolly was intended to end with an official statement, to be known as “The Madrid Declaration”, which would state that abortion is murder, yadda yadda yadda… However, and to the surprise of the attendees, Gallardón, the rising star of the antiabortion movement, withdrew from the conference at the very last minute due to some report or another on the bill not being ready.

Keep your friends close and your enemies closer

Spanish daily, El Diario, has put together a little collection of some of the more memorable phrases of the conference’s attendees. Unsurprisingly, all of them are antichoice, against LGBT rights and are all for the traditional nuclear family. Over the next few days, we shall be introducing you to them. Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer, as they say… Today we start with Cristina Reyes, onetime winner of “Queen of Guayaquil”:

Cristina Reyes, winner of “Queen of Guayaquil”

Cristina Reyes is an ex-beauty contest winner and now an Ecuadorian MP. She happily cites on her CV her achievements in the beauty pageant world, including her participation in “Miss International World”. Referring to abortion legislation in her country in 2008, Ms Reyes asked: “Do we want a country in which thousands of children are murdered?” She has also said: “The right to choose justifies a total crime”.

Gallardón backtracks (or rather, is told to backtrack)

Last Friday we protested at the Spanish Embassy in London against the abortion bill.  The date was June 27th and we chose that day to coincide with a multitude o f protests in Spain and abroad, taking the lead from the Feminist Federation in Madrid. June 27th was the day that the antiabortion bill was to begin its parliamentary process. On the day of the protest, we were informed the bill’s entry to parliament had been delayed a week. The bill’s progress to parliament had been postponed by the government to specifically coincide with the foul antichoice conference held in the Spanish capital today and tomorrow. Despite this unexpected announcement, protests worldwide went ahead, as did ours, last Friday, and more demos are scheduled in Spain this week and elsewhere to overlap with the antiabortion conference. We ourselves have something special planned in London for today and tomorrow but more about that later…

Gallardón’s lack of attendance at the Madrid antichoice conference is major coup for prochoice campaigners

Gallardón was scheduled to attend the antichoice conference to bang on about how great his bill is. But to everyone’s surprise Gallardón has pulled out at the very last minute from programme. The reason being, if we are to believe his spokesperson, that official reports on the draft bill are still pending and therefore Gallardón has not had time to edit the last draft and determine its final details. The Minister is apparently unwilling to do a presentation on an unsettled bill in front of his antichoice cronies.

Gallardón develops stage fright.

Gallardón is not exactly known for his self-doubt, in fact, he is known for quite the opposite as last year has shown: he has defiantly clung to his bill, unperturbed in the face of relentless criticism, steadfast in his belief that his law is a morally correct one. We have to presume that Gallardón’s present hesitancy is due to something other than a crisis of confidence. The Spanish PM, Mariano Rajoy, forever the coward, prefers controversial issues to be resolved as quietly as possible. Well, this was never going to happen, what with socialists in the lower house deliberately scheduling a prochoice convention to go head to head with the antichoice convention. Indeed, Spanish media had their tents pitched up and their popcorn ready for the face off. Gallardón’s sudden withdrawal from the antichoice meeting has, as one newspaper put it, clearly “deflated the soufflé”.

Keep fighting, keep spreading the word

But what does this mean for us? It means that we keep fighting: as the bill’s controversy continues to gain international attention, the Spanish government’s embarrassment over this barbaric law grows, whilst Rajoy and other members of the Partido Popular get ever more uncomfortable and impatient with Alberto’s political gambling. Gallardón’s lack of attendance at the Madrid antichoice conference is therefore a major coup for prochoice campaigners. Don’t think that little retweet or your presence at a demo don’t count, because they do. Help Spanish women defeat the bill: spread the word about My Belly is Mine and join the campaign!