Monday, 30 March 2009

Enough sight-seeing, now for some serious stuff!

In this country of contrasts, homosexuals can legally marry and a transsexual from Jaen has temporarily stopped his/her sex-change in order to take advantage of being still officially female and claim her/his right to fertility and IVF treatment, thus becoming the first transsexual ever to become pregnant with twins, but still anti-abortion organisations rallied 10,000 people (using Facebook and other electronic communications media) to demonstrate in Madrid at midday yesterday against the Spanish abortion bill. Toledo and Madrid had smaller demonstrations with 300 and 4oo people respectively and in Girona police had to intervene in clashes between pro- and anti-abortion groups.

Today has seen a flurry of comment about this. El Pais reports the Health Minister, Bernat Soria, seeing other motivation behind the protests, pointing out that when the Partido Popular was in government more than 500,000 abortions were carried out in the country without any demonstrations. Similarly, on television I have heard the the Vicepresident of the Spanish Government, Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega, wonder exactly what the demonstrators were protesting about since in the twentyfive years that the bill has existed there have been no other demonstrations.

Meanwhile, Cayo Lara of Izquierda Unida has criticised the Conferencia Episcopal Espanola (Spanish bishops) for their anti-abortion campaign. Huge posters have appeared displaying a toddler and an Iberian lynx. The lince iberico is a protected species and the toddler wonders why he is not also protected. Mr Lara points out that neither the toddler nor the lynx is un feto and objects to the fact that all tax-paying Spaniards, regardless of their views, have paid for the campaign. Apparently the church receives 0.7% of income tax.
And so la iglesia continues to exert power of sorts.

Semana Santa preparations are underway, on Principe they are selling plaited palm fronds in ready for Palm Sunday and in Bella Novia, the bridal shop down the road you can see a splendid display of First Communion outfits: white dresses for the little girls and military or naval uniforms for the little boys!

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