The last few months have been intense: new job, new country, life-changing decisions to make… So much has happened and every time I sat down to write all things invaded my brain at the same time and couldn’t put two words together.
One thing that really did gnarl my brain though is what really brought me back to the year I never said no. The new law on abortion in Spain. It’s a monday night, thirty degrees burn my Hanoian kitchen even though it’s almost midnight and I should really be in bed by now. But I just created a new facebook page (it’s called Talk to me – Parla con me) and the first thing I wanted to publish was a collection of photos of women who are meaningful to me.
One of them is Anne Summers, whom I’ve met briefly at the Ubud Literary Festival in 2013, and who is an Australian feminist of outstanding charisma. If she talks, all you can do is sit there and listen because her husky voice makes you feel you are in good hands. She knows her shit!
We had a very short but extremely deep conversation about birth control and abortion and ever since that day I kept thinking about it. The Mr Rajoy, PM of Spain, decides that 2014 is a good time to set the clock back to the middle ages and pushes for a law to make abortion illegal in Spain.
Now, Mr Rajoy, we have gone through this many many times. Where do you have to keep politics? Out of our pants and bodies? And where do you keep the Church? Wherever you wish, but again not in our pants. The power of a woman to decide whether if and when she wants to have children is the scariest thing for some men. It proves how we haven’t really changed from Eve’s days and we still go on and do what we want with our bodies. But Mr Rajoy, and all the anti abortion campaigners, should realize that from the day Eve was kicked out of Eden onwards (abut 2300 years?) women did not have the freedom to decide.
We have been abused, married as children, sold, bought, raped, forced to abort or to have children. The body of women has been a battle field for over two thousand years. Not even fifty years ago we manage to get some of the rights that are only fair (not a privilege!) like abortion, divorce and so on and now you want to take them away from us? On what grounds exactly? Do you also want to burn the formula of penicillin? Go back to street fires instead of central heating? And why don’t we use all the black people in our cities as slaves? Maybe burn lesbians as witches?
No, Mr Rajoy, when a right is acquired -and let me say, especially when it’s acquired through so much pain- you don’t go back. We have a hard enough time to cope with bigotry on rights that we are still struggling to get, let’s not fuck up with those we have. Please.
I come from a country where no one is considering making abortion illegal because technically it is already inaccessible (so why bother?) and this tears my heart apart. Because laws are made by men, or by women who can afford to get an abortion within a week if they want to. Because if someone said that gynaecologists who refuse to perform abortions should leave their (tax payers funded) jobs in public hospitals, abortion would become a much easier procedure. Women wouldn’t have to wait for weeks and make the whole process more painful and traumatic.
In my job I advocate for the increase in use of birth control and a wider distribution of morning after pills to avoid surgical procedures which, in developing countries, could expose women to unnecessary danger.
I do this and know only too well that the first thing I would get in my country if I wanted to abort a foetus in my womb would be an evil look from the nurse and the doctor. I’m almost twenty nine and I feel I have the right to decide freely.
But the evil eye is very democratic in Italy: you get it if you don’t want a child whom you’d have the possibility to raise as well as if you are a minor (who is entitled to finish the school cycle without having to care for a baby just because you made a mistake!) and, worst of all, if you are an immigrant. Basically in Italy children have to be born, no matter what!
Our Minister of Health said in a recent interview that women should be “educated to maternity”. We don’t have enough children in Italy because we are not educated to maternity, obviously. Not because 43.6% of our youth is unemployed -and therefore has trouble caring for themselves, let a lone a child- and not because women who get pregnant are generally laid off.
All I can feel for this woman, beside the burning anger that stirs my primitive instincts like Goron Ramsey stirs his bisques and makes me want to punch her, is sorrow and pity.
I feel sorry for a woman who is evidently not qualified for her job and has been selling herself for so long that she’s not even able to see who she really is any more. I feel sorry because I’m under the impression that she might believe what she says and if that’s the case she’s a victim like every one else. A victim turned murderer, unfortunately.
Considering the past of both Spain and Italy it’s really hard to believe that this attitude of turning women into rights-less baby makers is unrelated to Catholicism. The pope who everyone praises like a fantastic innovator so far hasn’t innovated much as far as rights are concerned: gays are still gays (when he said “I won’t judge them” the newspapers forgot to mention that the second part of the sentence said “God is the only one who can judge”, implying the the judgement is still coming… and not from him but from the Boss!), abortion is still a mortal sin and so on…
I would like to close with a thought on the title of this post: why I care.
I care because I am a woman and my body is no different to that of other women. If I make a choice I want it respected.
I care because I want a more humane way to undergo what for many women is traumatic. Stop this useless butchery!
I care because we have an alternative but we decide not to use it as if we wanted to punish those who have made a mistake.
I care because more than half of the parliamentarians of my country are sitting in the Parliament despite having been found guilty of crimes against the nation (affiliation with the mafia is a particularly popular one but there are others that are as interesting…) and still expect to make laws about my body and tell me that if I get rid of a blood clot I’m a murderer.
I care, you should care too.