FEMEN protesters wearing robes with the words "stop sexist justice" demonstrate outside the US Embassy in Madrid. But others in Spain are celebrating the Supreme Court's decision. Photo: Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images
Hard-right Christian groups across Europe are celebrating the end of Roe v. Wade in the US, claiming that their countries will be next to roll back reproductive rights.Tiziana Drago, a member of the far-right party Fratelli d’Italia, said that the US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the 1973 case that legalised abortion across the US was an opportunity to be “thinking about our own country.”
In a Facebook video, she said she will be proposing new measures that include teaching children in schools about the “psychological effects” of abortion on women as well as increasing the number of what she called “anonymous cribs” – places where women who cannot raise their children can apparently leave their babies. Drago attended the World Congress of Families conference in Italy in 2019, a meeting of far-right Christian ideologues from Europe and the US, despite the party she was in at the time telling her not to. She is also paying to promote the video, Facebook’s ad library shows.In the UK, Christian groups that have been involved in recent campaigns to block legislation that broadened abortion rights have said they hope the banning of abortion that’s been heralded by the overturning of Roe v. Wade might be replicated on this side of the Atlantic.SPUC Pro Life, which VICE World News recently discovered has been using funding from an anonymous US donor to give anti-abortion talks in British schools, tweeted: “When we say ‘The UK is next’, this isn't some sort of threat, this is a message of hope, for babies and women. Legal protection of the unborn in this country can be restored, and we should take heart in today's Supreme Court decision that it WILL.”
Abortion is legal across the UK, although many women still struggle to access abortion services in Northern Ireland after it was legalised there in October 2019. For England, Wales and Scotland, it has been legal since the Abortion Act was passed into law in 1967.Christian Concern, which like SPUC Pro Life campaigned to stop telemedicine abortion being made permanent in England in a recent parliamentary vote, posted a YouTube video on the reactions of UK Christians. “My hope and my prayer is that on this side of the Atlantic, we here in the UK will listen to what has taken place in the US and that we too become a nation that is pro life,” one person identified as a pastor said, while a minister added: “The least safe place to be in Britain is a mother’s womb.” Christian Concern’s communications manager Paul Huxley also tweeted: “Painful that it has taken so much to get here but wonderful that so many children will now be protected. May we do that in the UK too.”In Spain, Ignacio Arsuaga, founder of the ultraconservative advocacy group CitizenGo tweeted that it was “great news”, and that Spain would be “the next stop.”
A number of anti-abortion groups gathered in Madrid on Sunday to protest against abortion as part of their ongoing campaign to limit abortion rights in the country, where the government has just expanded their laws to now let 16 to 18-year-olds seek out abortions without getting their parents’ permission.