Over the weekend, the streets of Verona were flooded by tens of thousands of campaigners to show their opposition to an anti-abortion conference whose self-avowed goal is to establish the ‘natural family order’. The three-day meeting was organized by the US-based World Congress of Families (WCF), which has faced criticism for its Russian ties, to discuss “the beauty of marriage” and “growth and demographic decline”. The meeting was started on Friday and featured Interior Minister Matteo Salvini as Saturday’s key speaker.
The 13th International Conference of the WCF, which has been branded as ‘medieval” was funded by the local authority and is backed by the far-right League Party, which is a partner in Italy’s current populist coalition government. Protestors marched to defend abortion and women’s rights and hard-fought same-sex unions in Italy on Saturday. A spokesperson for Rebel Network said that ‘the only positive thing to come out of this event is that all these groups have come together and Italy is uniting. This is a battle to protect the rights and freedom for all, not just one group. We are all under threat. This congress is not about religion but political power, we don’t accept this dangerous regression’.
Matteo Salvini, who leads the far-right North League Party said that abortion was here to stay in Italy. He would not work to change Italy’s abortion law as Italians need to start bringing children into the world. a country that doesn’t make babies is a country that dies. He wants to see the government helping women who are seeking an abortion because of financial reasons. Though, Salvini’s coalition partner Luigi Di Maio, the leader of another right-wing party spoke against WCF and said that the vision defended by this Congress in Verona is a vision of the world that belongs for the most part to the Middle Ages.
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