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

A chronicle “I assume!” by Margherita Romengo, project manager in public administration

She is one of the few authors to have taken up the subject of voluntary termination of pregnancy (IVG). Annie Ernaux, recently Nobel-winning feminist author, told the story of her clandestine abortion when she was a student in 1963, 12 years before the Veil law, in The empty cupboards (1974) and in The event (2008). Always acute and topical, these stories resonate powerfully in these times when the right to abortion is abused in several countries within the European Union, including Italy, a country dear to our hearts. .

On 25th September last, Giorgia Meloni and her party, Fratelli d’Italia, won the Italian legislative elections. This victory does not bode well for the Italians and for the right to abortion. Indeed, ironically, the first woman to chair the Council of Ministers is known for her reactionary, sexist, racist, LGBTQI + phobic positions. His slogan, launched in 2019 during a demonstration in opposition to the government then in place, perfectly sums up his ultra-conservative vision: “Io sono Giorgia, sono una donna, sono una madre, sono italiana, sono cristiana” (I am Giorgia, I am a woman, I am a mother, I am Italian, I am a Christian) – pinkwashed variant of the expression “Dio, Patria, Family” (God, Fatherland, Family), dear to the ultra-conservative right and delivered in the same speech.

Moreover, hardly had she taken up residence at the Palazzo Chigi than she hastened to rename the Ministry of Equal Opportunities and place at its head one of her henchmen, Eugenia Maria Roccella, whose the positions taken on the right to abortion are doubtful to say the least. So Opportunity bet and Family (Equal Opportunities and Family), under the Conte governments, we are moving to Family, Natalità and Pari opportunità (Family, Natality and Equal Opportunities). This modification, far from being insignificant, reflects at least two things: on the one hand, the centrality that this hard-right government intends to give to the so-called traditional family, that is to say formed by a man and a woman preferably united by marriage, via a pronatalist policy; on the other hand, the relegation of equality policies aimed at strengthening fundamental rights for people belonging to minority social groups. If no measure has yet been taken by the government in place for a few weeks, it is not unreasonable to expect the worst, considering in particular the presence within it of Matteo Salvini, another illustrious representative of an Italian right. in putrefaction. Let us not forget, in fact, that last May the Lega, party of Matteo Salvini, torpedoed a bill aimed at strengthening the anti-discrimination law to fight against 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 the enticing title: ITalian Conservatism. Europe, Identity, Freedom (Italian conservatism. Europe, identity, freedom), which brought together curators from all walks of life. In a civilized setting, one could hear there (1) fervent discourses on national identity, the traditional family, the protection of borders. The targets are, unsurprisingly, all designated: women, LGBTQI + people, people of foreign origin or of immigrant origin.

The picture is dark. However, the revocation of Roe vs. Wade decision by the United States Supreme Court on June 24 sounded the alarm. In reaction to this historic decline in the right to abortion across the Atlantic, French deputies adopted a bill on November 9 aimed at constitutionalizing the right to abortion for enshrine its fundamental character. This is a step in the right direction, in order 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) The entire conference can be viewed here.

“I assume!”, the meeting of Tuesday noon

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

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

All speak on a personal basis. Their ambition is to invigorate an impertinent but quality debate alongside the great interviews, opinions, chronicles and white cards that The Free publish daily. As with all opinions, the content of the texts engages only the authors and does not belong to the editorial staff of the journal.

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