“What is happening in Italy, a country dear to us, worries me a lot”

An “I assume!” column by Margherita Romengo, project manager in the public administration

She is one of the few authors to have dealt with the topic of voluntary termination of pregnancy (IVG). Annie Ernaux, feminist writer and recent Nobel laureate, told the story of her clandestine abortion when she was a student in 1963, 12 years before the Veil Act, in The empty closets (1974) and in The event (2008). Always sharp and timely, these stories resonate strongly in these times when the right to abortion is being violated in several countries of the European Union, including Italy, a country that is close to our hearts. .

On 25 September Giorgia Meloni and her party, Fratelli d’Italia, won the Italian legislative elections. This victory does not bode well for Italians and for the right to abortion. Indeed, ironically, the first woman to preside over the Council of Ministers is known for her reactionary, sexist, racist, LGBTQI + phobic positions. Her slogan, launched in 2019 during a demonstration in opposition to the government then in office, perfectly sums up her ultra-conservative vision: “I am Giorgia, I am a woman, I am a mother, I am Italian, I am Christian“(I’m Giorgia, I’m a woman, I’m a mother, I’m Italian, I’m Christian) – pinkwashed variant of the expression”God, Country, Family” (God, Fatherland, Family), dear to the ultra-conservative right and pronounced in the same speech.

After all, as soon as she took office in Palazzo Chigi, she hastened to rename the Ministry of Equal Opportunities and put one of her henchmen, Eugenia Maria Roccella, in charge, whose positions on the right to abortion are questionable to say the least. Like this Opportunity bet and Family (Equal Opportunities and Family), under the Conte governments, we are moving Family, birth rate and equal opportunities (Family, birth rate and equal opportunities). This change, far from being insignificant, reflects at least two things: on the one hand, the centrality that this far-right government intends to give to the so-called traditional family, i.e. formed by a man and a woman preferably united by marriage, through a pro-natalist policy ; on the other, the retrocession of equality policies aimed at strengthening the fundamental rights of people belonging to minority social groups. If no measures have yet been taken by the government in office for a few weeks, it is not unreasonable to expect the worst, especially considering the presence within it of Matteo Salvini, another illustrious representative of a rotting Italian right. In fact, let’s not forget that last May the League, Matteo Salvini’s party, torpedoed a bill aimed at strengthening the anti-discrimination law to fight sexism, homo and transphobia as well as validism.

And chance sometimes does things badly: a few days after Giorgia Meloni’s victory, the Italian capital hosted a symposium with an attractive title: TheItalian conservatism. Europe, Identity, Freedom (Italian conservatism. Europe, identity, freedom), which brought together conservatives from all walks of life. In a civilized environment, one could hear (1) fervent talks about national identity, the traditional family, the protection of borders. The targets are, of course, all designated: women, LGBTQI+ people, people of foreign or immigrant origin.

The picture is dark. However, the US Supreme Court’s quashing of the Roe v. Wade ruling on June 24 rang a wake-up call. In response to this historic decline in abortion rights across the Atlantic, French MEPs adopted a bill on November 9 aimed at constitutionalizing the right to abortion to establish its fundamental nature. This is a step in the right direction, to guarantee women access to abortion and thus fight against one of the most formidable forms of violence.

November 25 is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. The perfect opportunity to read or re-read Annie Ernaux.

(1) You can view the entire conference here.

“I assume!”, the meeting on Tuesday at noon

With “I assume!”, The Free proposes a new opinion meeting every Tuesday at noon on its website. Four columnists, from different and complementary backgrounds, offer their arguments week after week on controversial and social topics.

You will find the essayist and secular activist Nadia Geerts, the author and actor Ismaël Saidi, the lawyer and deputy director general of the Thomas More Aymeric de Lamotte Institute, and the project manager in the public administration Margherita Romengo.

Everyone speaks in a personal capacity. Their ambition is to reinvigorate an impertinent but quality debate alongside the great interviews, opinions, reports and white papers that The Free publish daily. As with all opinions, the content of the texts involves only the authors and does not belong to the editorial board of the journal.

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