GREECE – Athens metro ordered to remove anti-abortion posters

An anti-abortionposter displayed on 12 January in many places in the Athens metro, triggered astrong, negative reaction from the public and social media users. On 13January, social media in Greece were flooded with pictures from the subway. Newswebsite In.grreportedthat social media users were angry about the posters because they “bring thecountry back to the Middle Ages”.

Following an intense reaction from opposition parties andactivists as well, the conservative Minister of Transport, Kostas Karamanlis,asked the transportation company to remove the posters as they were arguing“against an absolutely guaranteed and indisputable right of women”. He alsokept his distance from the decision to allow the posters to be put up, sayingthat the government was not informed. Ministry officials also said the metro is no place for“advertising activity that infringes on the rights of social groups, andespecially those of women”.

The next day, Greece’s General Secretary for Gender Equality,Maria Syrengela, said she agreed with the decision to remove the posters. “Informingthe public and public awareness must be based on respect, objectivity andresponsibility,” she said in a statement, adding that women’s legal access toabortion is “unquestionable”.

The posters, supported by theGreek Orthodox Church, may also have had the nod from the right-wing PrimeMinister Kyriakos Matsotakis who, concerned about Greece’s low fertility rate (1.3 in 2017), has promised asubsidy of up to €2,000 euros for each child born in Greece.

SOURCES:, by Sarantis Michalopoulos, 13 January2020 ;, 14 January 2020 ; La, by AFP, 13 January 2020 (en français)