Home > IV Online magazine > 2023 > IV585 - October 2023 > Andorran women take to the streets to demand that abortion is no longer a crime


Andorran women take to the streets to demand that abortion is no longer a crime

Saturday 7 October 2023, by Collective

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As part of the International Day for the Right to Abortion [1], a demonstration was held in Andorra on 30 September. Around 150 activists responded to a call from the Stop Violències association, which is fighting for the decriminalization of abortion, which in Andorra is considered a crime, even after rape.

This small state, a "parliamentary theocracy" wedged between France and Spain, is governed by medieval legislation. Two co-princes decide on women’s right to control their own bodies: the Bishop of Urgell, a traditionalist opposed to abortion, and... the President of the French Republic.

Solidarity with Vanessa Mendoza Cortés

Vanessa Mendoza Cortés, president of Stop Violències, has been taken to court by the Andorran president, Xavier Espot Zamora, for “defamation”. In 2019, during a session of the UN Committee against Discrimination, she denounced the ban on abortion in her country! Thanks to an international solidarity campaign, the threat of a prison sentence has been lifted, but she faces a €30,000 fine.

To show our solidarity with Vanessa, a combative and colourful demonstration marched through the city, where slogans in several languages rang out for two hours: “Long live the feminist struggle”, “If the Pope were a woman, abortion would be legalized”, "Church, keep your hands off our ovaries", “Separation of Church and State”, “Macron and Espot resign”, and so on.

Demonstrating alongside the Andorran women were feminists from Ireland, South Catalonia and Latin America, as well as representatives of neighbouring French trade unions (FSU, Solidaires and CGT from Haute-Garonne and Pyrénées-Orientales), the Collectif pour les droits des femmes 66 and the NPA, the only political party present. As an expression of the reactionary pressure in this principality, at the end of the demonstration and out of sight, several women who had been unable to take part for fear of losing their jobs or residence permits came to express their solidarity with the Stop Violències struggle.

Against the yoke of theocratic and reactionary regimes

The demonstration ended under a blazing sun, with several delegations taking the floor to demand that Vanessa’s prosecution be dropped and that Andorran women and all those under the yoke of theocratic and reactionary regimes be granted the right to abortion. And to denounce the collusion between the Espot government, the Andorran Church and French presidents who have nothing but contempt for women’s right to decide and indifference for those who die because they were unable to make the choice to have an abortion.

The women’s anthem was sung in French, Spanish and Catalan. And to round off this magnificent initiative of internationalist and feminist solidarity, which strengthened the determination of our Andorran comrades in their fight, we joined together in a “witches’ circle” with a symbolic brazier in the middle to throw patriarchy, the Church, capitalism, racism and homophobia into the fire! The fight goes on. Let’s see more of you at Vanessa’s trial before the end of the year!

7 October 2023

Translated by International Viewpoint from l’Anticapitaliste.]


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[1The offical date is 28 September which fell on a Thursday this year.