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Anti-abortion campaign in Athens metro triggers public outcry

Anti-abortion posters appeared at several metro stations in Athens on Monday morning and triggered a public outcry.By early afternoon, the posters were removed following an order of the Transportation Minister.

Many metro commuters were shocked on Monday morning to see huge ads about an issue that has been settled in Greece years ago: abortion. One after the other, Athenians started to upload pictures of the huge posters on social media, criticizing the ads against abortion. On social media comments, they spoke of “regression” and of a campaign that “takes the country several decades back.”

Anti-abortion campaign poster “Let me live – Choose Life”

The posters featuring a 10-week-old fetus a few scientifically doubtful questions like asks “did you know that the unborn child” feels pain on the 10th pregnancy week, its heart beats on the 18th week and other questions.

The paid Ad was sponsored by an organization called “Panhellenic Union of Friends of Families with many children.”

The campaign runs also on Facebook, internet users reported.

By the early afternoon, the Minister of Transport and Infrastructure, Costas Karamanlis, had order the posters to be removed, thus launching an internal investigation about the issue.

This paid advertising campaign started on Monday morning and it was scheduled to remain in metro stations for 14 days. The posters were placed in 31 frames at 17 subway stations.

They were removed from all stations by Monday afternoon.

Speaking to daily ethnos, Stavros Stafopoulos, the president of STASY to which the Athens Metro belongs said that the campaign did not even went through the board to obtain the relevant approval.

According to media, the cost of the campaign paid to Stasy by the initiators was not disclosed, however, the cost is 50% lower than commercial ads when it comes to non-profit organizations.

In a statement the Transportation Ministry declared that “neither the ministry not the government had the slightest information” about the campaign. It stressed that the campaign was  “against the fully enshrined and undeniable right of women”.

“The control and approval of the content of ads posted on the Metro is the sole responsibility of the STASY administration. This responsibility must be exercised with responsibility and social conscience,” the ministry added.

It underlined that “campaigns in public spaces should not divide the public opinion, or certainly offend women who have been forced to make such a difficult choice in their lives,” and added that the Ministry  called on the STASY administration to explain the rationale for allowing such a campaign, thus calling for the removal of the posters as soon as possible.

According to documentonews, the organization “Let me Live” is funded by the Greek Church and is supported by nineteen religious organizations.

Last summer, “Let me Live” managed to convince the Holy Synod of the Greek orthodox Church to declare the day after Christmas as the “day of the unborn child.”

Opposition parties SYRIZA and KINAL/PASOK had called for the immediate removal of the anti-abortion posters.

Abortions became legal in Greece in 1983.

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13 comments

  1. Every child born or unborn should have the right to life.
    People who don’t believe the baby inside deserves this can just ignore the posters.
    It’s the fact that these poster’s tell the undeniably truth is what bothers the complainants.

    • Only women themselves can choose what happens with and in their bodies. You have no right to tell women what to do with their bodies. Unborn life is legally not considered to be a life worth protecting, thus you can’t kill unborn life. I’m happy that Greece is part of the forward thinking states of the world that considers this. An abortion is a normal medical treatment that should be quickly and broadly accessible for every woman.

      • What Prolifers disagree with is that it is not the womans body, it is an entirely different person altogether thats being killed through abortion. This is a medical fact.
        You cannot say that Greece is a forward thinking nation when it kills future generations, not to mention the money involved.
        Abortion is not a normal medical treatment as you say, medical treatments are to save lives not end them.

      • The baby, may it be a little woman or a little man is a separate individual with it’s own individual DNA, what of their choice?

    • Dmitri Shostokovich

      This is not a man’s or your decision to make. We must stop telling women what to do with their bodies. This is not the 16th century. Act like it.

    • Very progressive, to take down posters because they just present scientific facts! What about the freedom to express opinion and to campaign for it non violently and not offensively as the case was here? If the foetus is not life then what is it?

  2. Which century we are in makes no difference to the facts. The unborn child is as human as it has ever been

  3. Scientifically doubtful?? I think science has proven when a heart begins beating. Comments like that take the pro death camp back more than ten years.

  4. In a society where there is freedom of speech, almost anything should be allowed (almost – HATE speech, never!). If you don’t agree with what is said, ignore it. A survey published in 2017 mentioned that there were 150,000 abortions in Greece.

    https://www.euractiv.com/section/health-consumers/news/greece-alarmed-by-high-number-of-abortions-amongst-minors/

    We routinely read that infants/newborns are abandoned in dumpsters.

    I am not going to state whether or not I am pro-choice or pro-life. I am pro free speech. By removing this poster, we are, in fact, giving them ammunition to use against the opposing side.

    • This is nothing to do with freedom of speech. Anyone is free to express their opinions about abortion. This is about organised political propaganda, which appeared as if it were normal advertising in metro stations. If a political party at election time wants to advertise its anti-abortion policy position, it will be allowed to do so — I am sure. It is a very different thing when far right anti-abortion activists place posters in public in order to influence public opinion.

      As for “scientific facts”, there are plenty of them about life. What about the fully-developed lives of animals that are maltreated, or simply dying of hunger? What about the food industry that treats animals as if they were tin cans, making their short lives utter misery and torture? What about the sentience of fish and “sea-food” animals? These animals are now known to have feelings and even high intelligence in some cases, such as the octopus. Yet they are tortured and killed in their millions every day.

      No, the looney religious far right (which is mostly Yankee) needs to be starved of public display. These are the same people who oppose teaching in schools of scientific theory such as Darwinian Evolution — simply because it does not fit in with their ignorant religious views, which belong in the distant past. As for abandoned newborn babies, this horror would increase with greater difficulty in getting an abortion. We know this as an historical fact, and it is one of the strongest reasons to allow women the right to choose to terminate pregnancy.

  5. A theory is not scientific proof, neither does religion belong only to the past. Beware the word “ignorant” !!!
    Even so I agree that pushing one’s beliefs on others is futile and in poor taste.

    • All scientific theories are subject to revision, which is the basis of science — unlike religions which you are not allowed to question. Your comment indicates that you do not actually know how scientific knowledge is developed, continually tested, and sometimes overturned when new knowledge replaces it.

      And although people are entitled to follow their religious beliefs, they are not entitled to challenge the relative certainties of scientific knowledge. Religions are collections of dogma from the past, and really of use only in helping people cope with problems in their lives.