Inside Italian public hospitals, I saw how a US-linked anti-abortion network is ‘humiliating’ women
An Italian federation of anti-abortion activists, linked to the US religious right, is “infiltrating” hospitals to stop abortions. I saw them in action. (In Italiano).
9 March 2020
At 8am on a winter Friday morning, the road to the San Pio hospital in Benevento, a small city in southern Italy, is covered by mist. The hospital’s corridors are quiet, except on the second floor, where abortion-related visits are scheduled to start.
More than forty years after abortions were legalised in Italy, they remain hard for women to access – especially in the south, where most doctors refuse to perform them. In 2017, the entire Benevento province was briefly left with no abortion provider after the only non-refuser at the San Pio hospital retired.
The war on African women is supported by foreign activists, with no regard for our lives
I know what life is like when access to sexual and reproductive services is limited. In Nigeria and across the continent, this must end now.
1 November 2019
In May, police officers raided a Marie Stopes clinic in Lagos, Nigeria’s capital. Witnesses said the officers harassed patients and accused them of illegally accessing confidential documents. It was the latest in a string of attacks against groups that support women’s reproductive rights. Nigerian feminists, women’s rights campaigners and LGBTIQ+ activists came together on social media to ask, “what is going on?”. A consensus was reached: there is a strategic effort to undermine our sexual and reproductive health and rights, with women’s bodies a key battleground.
Nigeria’s patriarchal conservatism is hardly news; women, girls and queer folks in this country are regularly and legally denied autonomy, the rate of sexual violence is high, while sexual and reproductive healthcare is extremely limited. Nigeria accounts for more than 10% of global maternal deaths, despite representing only 2.5% of the global population, and a 2013 study showed that only 16% of Nigerian women of reproductive age (15-49) have access to, and use, contraception.
Antigender politics from May to August 2019
11 Sep 2019
Sexuality Policy Watch
We start this announcement recalling that, before May 2019, two major antigender events have taken place that are worth revisiting because of their potential subsequent ripple effects in Europe and Latin America.
The World Congress of Families – The 2019 edition of the World Family Congress (WCF) was held in Verona (Italy) in the last week of March. The event was attended by Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, senior Hungarian officials and other well-known names of conservative religious and lay circles in Europe and the United States. The event faced protest, as Feminist and LGTBI marches took to the streets of Verona to contest the event’s agenda (see a compilation). It is also worth noting that the Vatican and members of the Five Star Movement — whose coalition with Salvini’s Lega Nord governs Italy — have publicly distanced themselves from the conference. Amongst the vast record of information published on Verona, we draw attention to the report published by openDemocracy on the large flow of money — more than 50 million euros — transferred between lay and religious conservatives in the United States and European far-right movements. Another OD report examines how WCF acts as a regular meeting point for strategies among highly conservative personalities, members of the European aristocracy and the Catholic hierarchy engaged in antigender and anti-abortion policies.
Nigeria: Not left out of the global rollback of sexual and reproductive rights
“What is going on?”
23 July 2019 | By OluTimehin Adegbeye
A few weeks ago, police officers conducted a raid on a Marie Stopes clinic in Lagos. They harassed patients, temporarily detained a doctor, and illegally accessed confidential documents. Immediately following this deeply unnerving attack, which came on the trail of other anti-rights incidents involving state agents, a group of Nigerian feminists, women’s rights campaigners and LGBTQI+ activists came together to ask, “what is going on?”. In the course of the digital conversation that ensued, a consensus was reached: a strategic effort to undermine the sexual and reproductive health and rights of Nigerians is underway, and women’s bodily integrity is on the frontlines.
Nigeria’s patriarchal conservatism is hardly news; women, girls and queer folks in this country are regularly and legally denied their bodily autonomy, and the rate of sexual violence is high.
Italy: Thousands protest against anti-abortion conference
Pro-choice activists took to the streets of Verona to protest an anti-abortion conference attended by Interior Minister Matteo Salvini. His coalition partner Luigi Di Maio described anti-abortion rhetoric as medieval.
Tens of thousands of people marched through the northern Italian city of Verona on Saturday to protest an international anti-abortion conference.
The three-day meeting organized by the US-based World Congress of Families (WCF) started on Friday and featured Interior Minister Matteo Salvini as Saturday's key speaker.
Conservative congress on family divides Italy
The Associated Press
Published: March 30, 2019
VERONA, Italy — A congress in Italy under the auspices of a U.S. organization that defines family as strictly centring around a mother and father has made Verona — the city of Romeo and Juliet — the backdrop for a culture clash over family values, with a coalition of civic groups mobilizing against what they see as a counter-reform movement to limit LGBT and women’s rights.
The World Congress of Families, which runs through Sunday, has revealed another rift in Italy’s governing coalition, as well as providing a platform for ultra-conservatives seeking to reopen the debate over abortion, legalized in Italy in 1978.
Allowing adoption of embryos 'would attack Italy’s abortion rights’
by Lillo Montalto Monella & Alice Tide
A bid by one of Italy's ruling populist parties to recognise the legal rights of embryos and allow unborn children to be adopted has been denounced by critics who say it is an assault on the country's decades-old abortion law.
The proposal is back in the spotlight ahead of a global conference in Verona that seeks to defend the concept of family in society.
Italy’s Right Links Low Birthrate to Fight Against Abortion and Migration
By Jason Horowitz
March 27, 2019
VERONA — In a City Hall office decorated with ultrasound images of his children, a Crucifix and nesting dolls of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, Mayor Federico Sboarina explained why he had sought to make Verona the first “Pro-Life City” in Italy.
“This is the city of love, the city of Romeo and Juliet,” he said, “and the fruit of love is life.”
By Cole Parke, on September 15, 2016
Next week, the World Congress of Families (WCF) will host a regional conference in Nairobi, Kenya. For several years, PRA has tracked and reported on the WCF’s role in the U.S. Religious Right’s global export of homophobia and sexism, and the organization’s increasing focus on Africa is of grave concern.
WCF’s international convenings function as key sites of right-wing strategy development and dissemination. From its headquarters in Rockford, Illinois, WCF and its member organizations use deceptive “pro-family” rhetoric to promote conservative ideologies that dictate who counts as “family,” and who doesn’t (that is, any and all “nontraditional” families such as those constructed by single parents, same-sex couples, grandparents, non-biological guardians, etc.). These ideologies are then codified into regressive laws and policies that criminalize LGBTQ people and abortion, condoning and promoting the ongoing persecution, oppression, and violence experienced by women and LGBTQ people around the world.
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Source: Political Research Associates