Faced with what happened a few days ago in Congress, where the VOX deputy, José María Sánchez called the socialist deputy Laura Berja a “witch”, who was speaking defending the PSOE bill to penalize the harassment that exerts against women in front of abortion clinics, there are a couple of things here that I want to talk about.
The first is about the fact that religious fundamentalists go to pray in front of the abortion clinics and the second is about the label of “witch.” On the first, I had thought to speak later, since it is one of the aspects that the Minister of Equality had stated that she would deal with in the reform of the Sexual and Reproductive Health Law and – as I have been saying these weeks – I want to address these issues reform, since they are very important to me and that is why I have been dealing with them in previous columns here and here. However, the event in the Congress of Deputies has accelerated him to talk about the issue now.
Those who defend these practices of people going to the clinics to pray, which is really to harass -because they insult and rebuke women-, they try to justify themselves through freedom of worship. This constitutes a fallacious argument, which hides the real objective of preventing the realization of the sexual and reproductive rights of those women who are harassed. To obstruct access to their human right to safe abortion, which has been recognized with vast precedent in international law, as well as as a precondition for the enjoyment of other rights and so that this does not continue to be a public health problem.
The fact that clinics are planted in clinics shouting things like “you’re going to hell”, “you’re going to kill your own child” or telling health personnel has nothing to do with the right to religious freedom. who does their job that they are “murderers and murderers.” This is harassment and a premeditated intention to harm, to make a decision more difficult and painful, and a situation that society has already taken on to make it almost mission impossible. But it is that even if they sat there only to pray the rosary, their interest would not be given only to raise a prayer to God, but to generate pressure and discomfort. That single activity has an enormous symbolic charge, an implicit reproach that is given on the idea of sin, the eternal condemnation for being murderers and all the historical pressure that has been exerted on the decisions of women and their bodies. Religious freedom does not happen by obstructing the convictions of others and less by making it impossible to exercise the rights of others and this is just what is done at the doors of the clinics.
People can pray whatever they want, Spain allows freedom of worship, but the clinics are not cathedrals and women who abort are not their devotion. What are they doing there? Those are illegal practices and should be treated as such.
Now, about the adjective “witch”, it is tremendous to think that after centuries and centuries the inquisition is still alive and the inquisitors also, although they change their forms. It is evident that José María Sánchez has said it with the intention of offending and discrediting the deputy Laura Berja. Just as in the 16th century, many women were persecuted and tortured out of the canon to the cry of “witch”, and illustrious gentlemen such as Thomas Hobbes or Jean Bodin insisted that witches should be burned alive instead of being “mercifully” strangled before being thrown into the flames.
To this deputy and to all those who think like him, it must be said that of course, yes, that we are still the same witches; the descendants of the healers, midwives, ancestral doctors, the wise and free women, masters of themselves, who were raped, enslaved, tortured and burned at the stake – depending on the side of the world they were on -, whom now they want to silence and criminalize.
Using the qualifier of witch in a pejorative way only shows two things: a deep historical ignorance or a clear regressive ideological position in rights. In the case of Vox and a good part of the right, it may well be both. The impressive thing is to think that people like this man administer justice, he is a judge on voluntary leave, one whose positions show the most retarded and caveman in terms of rights. Can you imagine their sentences?
We women know that the right to decide about our bodies has been a permanent struggle against all kinds of powers where patriarchy is manifested; call yourselves judges, churches, state, family, etc; and that this fight implies being alert not to allow setbacks. We are going to keep resisting and keep pushing. Now it is against the anti-rights, who say they call themselves pro-life, but tomorrow we’ll see. There we will continue. It is what witches have, some die and others are born, thus we have multiplied and survived the inquisitors and the colonial extermination. Yes, we are and will continue to be the same witches.