Commentary. Only those with poor memories can be surprised at the young FdI leader's recent statements on pregnancy termination, because they hearken back to those awful, guilt-ridden anti-abortion marches in the 1970s.

Meloni degrades women’s rights at her peril

In the historic battle of Italian women for a law that would end the atrocious toll in human lives taken by clandestine abortions, I do not recall ever seeing the Giorgia Melonis of that time. The militants of the leftist parties, those of the radical party, the Catholic movements in dissent from the Church, and, of course the feminist movements, were all protagonists in that battle for civilization.

The Italian Social Movement (MSI) of the tricolor flame logo, always faithful to the motto “God, fatherland, family,” which still fuels the propaganda of the Brothers of Italy (no sisters, they have to wait for better times), was aligned with Catholic extremists against the law. At that time, they were followers of the fundamentalist Carlo Casini; now they are supporters of Simone Pillon.

Back then, the black-shirted forces likewise covered up their false conscience under the banner of the “defense of life”; they also said back then that they wanted to help poor women not to have abortions, distributing their appalling leaflets, which offered the option of adoption by generous families or being raised by religious institutions. For those harder to sway, they showed fetuses on display in glass jars.

Only those with poor memories can be surprised at the young FdI leader’s recent statements on pregnancy termination, because they hearken back to those awful, guilt-ridden anti-abortion marches: “Giving an alternative to a woman who has an abortion for economic reasons does not mean diminishing rights but expanding them,” she claimed.

We advise her, then, to start working in the regions administered by her coalition and her party (Umbria and Marche, first and foremost), where conscientious objection by doctors, which has always been the most appalling and devious weapon against the law, is the rule rather than the exception. In Lazio, to fight the widespread use of the objection, President Zingaretti had to hold a kind of competition only for non-objector doctors.

We would be curious to know what Meloni thinks about the torture (with good intentions, supposedly) devised by the sick mind of Orban (and taken up, as denounced by Sinistra Italiana and the Greens, in Umbrian healthcare facilities) of forcing a woman to listen to the heartbeat of the fetus before abortion. For that matter, after seeing Meloni at the infamous and notorious rally at the congress of the Spanish neo-Francoists of Vox, there’s little more to be said. The democratic forces would have done well to spread those images of her at every opportunity in this flaccid election campaign.

Meloni is saying the current moment is comparable to the past (“We do not have a situation that is so different from what our grandparents had in the postwar period”). That may be true in many respects, and September 25 will probably make us swallow the bitter pill of seeing these right-wingers in government, in a country that has its noblest roots in April 25, 1945. We will have an occasion to go back once more to the crisis of the parties and the left, to the grave responsibility of the PD for having led us to this point with its shameful electoral law and with its failed policy of alliances.

But we are certain of one thing. In a social landscape where both old and new poverty are disarming the social struggles while giving momentum to the sovereignist, racist and patriarchal right-wingers, the Melonis, Salvinis and Berlusconis must know that if there is an attack on the right to abortion, any fascistoid puritanic majority would be short-lived.

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