Monday, December 4

Valencia, Murcia and Valladolid withdraw advertisements against the prohibition of harassment in front of abortion clinics

This week, the Catholic Association of Propagandists (ACdP) began an anti-abortion campaign against the government. To do this, it placed billboards and different advertising media on the marquees of 33 cities in the country under the slogan “praying in front of abortion clinics is great.” In total there are 260 posters that have been put up.

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The placement of posters began, according to the ultra-Catholic organization, ‘Cancelled’, a campaign to give “voice to the positions silenced by political correctness, the culture of cancellation and the repression of freedoms.”

The “prayers” that the campaign defends are actions in which ultra-Catholic associations stand for hours around the clinics where abortions are performed to persuade the women who come to them to back down. The ultra-Catholics display banners or even rebuke the women, calling them murderers or giving them toy fetuses and ultrasounds.

While in most cities they remain, at the end of the week, Valencia, Valladolid and Murcia have withdrawn these posters. Vitoria has requested it and is still waiting for the technical report that supports the withdrawal. In Valencia, its mayor, Joan Ribó, has expressed that the EMT has “an ethical regulation” that does not contemplate “an approach of this type”. Ribó has positioned himself in favor of “not all advertising being valid” because, he said, there were barriers that “were clearly being exceeded”.

Also in Murcia, the company that manages the advertising of the canopies, JCDecaux, has begun to withdraw these ads this Friday. Just a day before, the City Council asked to withdraw the campaign arguing that “it violates the fundamental right to personal and family privacy and the right to physical and moral integrity of women”. In a statement, they emphasized that these ads are “an act of illegality that forces women to exercise their rights in conditions of insecurity and risk to their lives, just as it happened before the democratic stage of our country.”

On the other hand, in Valladolid, the council has also decided to end the anti-abortion campaign. The Councilor for Urban Planning and Housing of the Valladolid City Council has explained that they are going to study the sanction that corresponds to the concessionaire of the canopies, for having installed them without previously presenting them to the contract supervisor. Manuel Saravia has added that this same Friday they have contacted the concessionaire company, which has withdrawn the elements.

Vitoria has positioned itself in favor of ending the campaign. It is the only Basque capital in which the announcement is found and the City Council announced this Thursday that it will try to ensure that this type of advertising does not continue to occupy space. The mayor, Gorka Urtaran, from the PNV, has assured that the campaign “is offensive and discriminatory” and has added that “it would be violating the municipal ordinance”. Therefore, it has indicated that it has transferred to the Equality service “the preparation of a technical report that justifies the request for its withdrawal.”

Madrid and Zaragoza keep them

While three cities have started removing them, others still maintain them. Madrid is one of them. The mayor, José Luis Martínez-Almeida, has argued that freedom of expression must prevail. Thus, it has positioned itself in favor of these anti-abortion billboards continuing on the marquees of the capital, after considering that the City Council has no jurisdiction to judge the opinion of the advertiser.

In this sense, he has justified that Madrid is a city that is characterized “by its high degree of tolerance and freedom” and has pointed out that “the political position defended by the advertiser is, at least, as respectable as the one that is frontally opposed to he”.

Like Madrid, Zaragoza has decided to keep the posters on its streets, according to local media. The argument of the local government, also made up of PP and Citizens, has been that it is not up to them to decide what messages appear on the marquees, which is something that the company in charge of them, JCDecaux, has to do.

Political parties and other groups ask for the withdrawal of the posters in Oviedo and Córdoba

At the same time, of the 33 cities, some have not yet made an official statement, although there have been movements in them calling for the removal of these fences. In Oviedo, the Municipal Socialist Group and Somos Oviedo have demanded that the municipal Executive (PP and Ciudadanos) take the “necessary measures” to remove these posters. “This is a direct attack and a criminalization of women’s rights that is intolerable and cannot be protected by any public institution,” said PSOE mayor Marisa Ponga. The socialist has also argued that this type of advertisement “also violates the ethical codes that ensure non-sexist advertising.”

Finally, In Córdoba, the Council of the Citizen Movement has sent a letter to the president of the municipal bus company, Aucorsa, Miguel Ángel Torrico, in which he demands his immediate withdrawal from the campaign. The letter states that “it is an advertisement whose purpose is to harass women who go to clinics to exercise their rights. A campaign plagued with hoaxes that follows the fundamentalist path of those who gather at the doors of the centers to harass women,” he concludes.