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

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

This small “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.

Meanwhile, Vanessa Mendoza Cortés, president of Stop Violències, was taken to court by the Andorran president, Xavier Espot Zamora, for “defamation” because 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 was lifted, but she faces a €30,000 fine.

To show 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…(continues).

SOURCE: International Viewpoint, by COLLECTIVE, 7 October 2023