by NON UNA DI MENO (Italy)

On May 6th, the Italian movement of Non Una di Meno is taking to the streets in the city of Ancona to reclaim the right to a safe, free abortion. With Meloni and the far right in power, we have witnessed terrible drawbacks in terms of reproductive health and freedom. In Italy abortion is granted by law (specifically, the 194 law). Yet, this very law allows doctors to abstain from practicing it. In fact, the so called ‘conscientious objection’ clause is quite popular among practitioners, and this means that many hospitals and health clinics cannot grant this right. The right to abortion in many cases exist only on paper. This is perfectly clear for Meloni: she pledged not to threaten our right to abortion and indeed she does not need to. Loopholes are much more convenient to curtail our freedom to have access to it. This is something we have been seeing for years at the regional level, especially in regions ruled by the right.

We talk of laboratories-regions: Marche, the region where the demonstration will be held, is being taken up as a model in places such as Umbria, Abruzzo, Piemonte, Veneto. These regions have implemented policies of drastic reduction of access to abortion, they are ever-more tolerant towards conscientious objection, support the funding of anti-abortion associations in public counseling centers, and are actively dismantling counseling centers. The result is that when women try to get an appointment to have an abortion, they are advised to go to other regions. The movement of Non Una di Meno chose to mobilize in Marche and Ancona precisely because of this dire situation, although we know that is not an isolated case. This obviously impacts women along the lines of class and race – getting an abortion in another region is expensive.

We are making precise demands regarding abortion law – the administration of abortion pill in all hospitals and family clinics, the extension of the number of weeks to access IVG, the abolition of the 7-day reflection period after obtaining the IVG certificate, etc. – however, our mobilization is not limited to abortion. We know that the attack against abortion is part of a broader strategy of the government and of its patriarchal ideology that threaten women and LGBTQ+ people’s freedom and self-determination, imposing a nationalistic idea of a bourgeois, patriarchal, white family with rigid gender roles. In the last months, a bill was presented in the Parliament to recognize the legal personality of the embryo, LGBTQ+ people have been attacked on multiple occasions, even struggling to have their children recognized by the law. The government has cancelled the poverty income, obstructed regulations on the minimum wage and allowed tax amnesty for the richest in what seems to be a war against the poor. It continues to make migrants’ lives impossible – whether by obstructing the rescue operation in the Mediterranean or, when in Italy, by exacerbating institutional racism and exploitation.

Meloni’s plan is perfectly in line with her extreme right allies at the European and international level in a situation determined by the consequences of the war in Ukraine and by its nationalistic fronts. We see the similarities with the March for Life that occurred in Prague, but we also see connections on the side of the feminist movements, that in Prague and elsewhere are organizing to refuse every attempt to subject women’s and LGBTQ+ lives and freedom to precise positions within the society.  In this perspective, the demonstration on May 6 is our counterattack. Finally, our opposition starts from a local territory, Marche, but it is and has to be transnational at its heart: we ask therefore for support, and we also want to be reciprocal in this support. Together, we need to reclaim our civil and social rights, as women and as queer people, thereby putting an end to the narration whereby civil and social rights are opposed to one another.