Picket lines of women formed Thursday in front of the hospitals of various cities, from Florence to Sicily, to Lecce, to Brindisi for the International day for Safe Abortion. This initiative was launched by the Argentine feminist movement “Ni Una Menos” [Not One Less] worldwide.
In Rome, the “Ni Una Menos” Committee has organized, in addition to a morning picket line in front of the hospital Policlinico Umberto I — always against the many opposing OB/GYN and for the use of the abortive pill RU486 — even a procession. Or rather, a sit-in in the Esquilino Square that in the evening turned into a small procession to Piazza Vittorio — tolerated by the police.
Signs and drums accompanied the Roman demonstration that, in addition to the freedom of choice regarding voluntary interruption of pregnancy, has been characterized by a more comprehensive claim on the female body. And so “against all the safety responses that the various authorities in Rome want to propose as anti-rape solutions,” explains Sara, a member of the horse-riding military in the parks, to the vademecum published by the newspaper Il Messaggero. A specific sit-in protest was already organized against it last week. Sara adds: “They want to blame women, for the way they dress, and immigrants, hiding the fact that 80 percent of sexual violence is happening in the domicile.”
The Roman feminists do not tolerate it and will insist on saying — from the stage truck of the protest, in the shouted slogans and the signs — that “safe roads are made so by the women crossing them,” despite all those who would instead lock them in the house or put them under escort and under protection. And with an obvious reference to the case of the carabinieri in Florence: “After getting drunk, I expect a headache, not a rape.”
On the steps behind the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, the younger girls are the most distrustful with journalists. They fear being used. But a bunch of high school students from the Tasso school agree to speak collectively and without names. They are 17 years old, fourth year students in various sections. They have not met together or in assembly because “in our high school, it is not very possible,” they say.
They started talking to each other after the lessons of a common philosophy professor. “He says he is on our side,” they explain, “but in fact, many of his lessons are just a propaganda of soft masculinity, telling us not to go out at night with bare legs, otherwise “you’re looking for trouble.” Nothing will change for him; feminism is only a speculation to chauvinism, which is wrong, and certain roles are cemented by tradition, therefore immutable. In the end, it only gives room to racist talk about immigrants and he does not say the real data, we have to go looking for it, but not even the newspapers make it clear.”
The Roman procession is joyous and mixed among the many women, there are also men of various ages. “If there are more men, it is because our women are also making a journey with them, and this is a success,” says Simona of Not One Less. But the Tasso girls argue that “women should be more involved in what affects them directly.”
There are no signs stating “do not touch the 194,” which instead marked the picket lines in front of the hospitals in Puglia, where the objection of conscience in the IVG wards reaches 89 per cent. Not that in Lazio the situation is so much better: at the Policlinico, only contracted doctors perform abortions. And even the birthing rooms are insufficient.