The (Family) Shock Doctrine

Remeber how pengovsky wrote that the backlash by the political right and the Catholic Church will be fast and furious on account of having succeeded in defeating the Family Code? Well, turns out I was wrong. The backlast was neither fast nor furious. It was moving at fukcing warp 9 and despite the fact that the move comes from a conservative pressure group and not the government itself, it closely resembles what Naomi Klein dubbed the Shock Doctrine.

The road to the holy grail outlined (source)

With Slovenia (together with the rest of the Eurozone) seeing no end to the economic crisis, the government of Janez Janša is trying to enact an austerity programme which makes the reform attempts of the previous government look like a walk in the park. Finance minsiter Janez Šušteršič is looking to cut EUR 800 million in budget spendind and as a result a downgrade in all sorts of downgrades in welfare state goodies (the official euphemism being “the thinning of the public sector”) including many family-related benefits. Enter the pressure groups which just succeeded in defeating the new Family Code on a referendum. While opposing the cuts in family benefits they sensed a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to grab the holy grail of the hardcore chauvinistic and medieval agenda which is mistakenly called pro-life.

Under the guise of being co-operative and understanding towards the government austerity attempts (“we realise we can spend only as much as we earn” and “we know that as a society we are living beyond our means“), they offer an alternative, which they call “cuts in the super-standard and non-disease conditions“. Specifically: freezing payments to the Public sector> pension fund, removal of funding for hormonal contraception and removal of funding for artifical abortions.

Yes. They want to kick the pill and abortions from the list of publicly available treatments. The right to family planning is enshrined in the constitution and even back then the Roman Catholic Church raised hell over it. It ended with a compromise wording of Article 55:

“Everyone shall be free to decide whether to bear children. The state shall guarantee the opportunities for exercising this freedom and shall create such conditions as will enable parents to decide to bear children.”

The proposal, should it be enacted, effectively removes the provisions of Article 55 and succeeds in what the Church was after all these years. The manner, however, is most perfidious and – again – in line with what the Republican party has been doing for all these years in the US, on a variety of issues, from gun control to abortion and health-care. With a keep-the-right-but-cut-the-finances approach they get what they want but without all the legal and constitutional hassle. After all, it’s just a line in the budget.

This episode proves that – contrary to what the pressure groups opposing the Family Code were claiming – they were not trying to maintain the status quo, but rather roll back the whole family-related legislation. Never mind the spike in teenage pregnancies, unwanted children and back alley abortion which are bound to be the result of this.

In fact, let’s take it up a notch. If the pill and abortion funding are cut and teenagers (who are not all that careful about having sex to begin with) start giving birth to children they don’t want or can’t afford to bring up, these hard-line conservatives will have increased the possibility of child trafficking, the very thing they falsely claimed the Family Code would make possible.

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Agent provocateur and an occasional scribe.

8 thoughts on “The (Family) Shock Doctrine”

  1. I don’t think taking away 7€ for 3 months of pills is against the constitution. Also if we get money for pills why not for condoms? Is this fact also against a consitution, that girls get free pills while guys are basically screwed and have to pay for condoms? Straight up discrimination right there.

    All that said, I back 100% everything you wrote 🙂

  2. You have to pay for the pill and for abortion in most cases in Germany, too, but it is not the Catholic church that is guilty of this. It is actually the health insurances (private and compulsory) who want the money. If you are under 20, you’ll get the pill for free, in any other cases you pay (even if on social benefit). If there is a health risk, you’ll get abortion for free, otherwise you pay etc.

    I don’t want to stress how everything is relative with my comment, it gives me the creeps to read your post, as I dislike the group(s) doing this shit.
    What I want to point out instead is the fact that health insurance companies (national or private) may well succeed in influencing the laws, too, should they choose to do so, and thus make paying for “family planning measures” obligatory. Also many other things … burials. Occupational disability. Sports-related injuries. Etc. etc.
    Obviously, they do it for money, not for political reasons, but the result’s the same.

  3. As I already said somewhere else, no civilised state plays with this shit. Because any woman who can’t raise enough money to pay legal abortion will a:) pay a discount price to the back alley abortionist, and some of those women will end this devastating procedure in a public hospital, where they will be treated for life-threatening injuries or infections – on the public health insurance account; b:) will pay probably a slighly less discounted price to a gynecologist, who will perform an ultrasound, claimed that he/she does not see fetal heartbeat and send her – again – into a public hospital, where she will get a D&C, again on the public health insurance account. First is very common in Poland (and women also die there), where the abortion is completely illegal; second example is very common in Croatia, from where many women as well come to Slovenia to do the procedure(especially from Dalmatia, where you practically cannot find a gynecologist who performs abortions, due to conscience clause and peer pressure).

    A conclusion: any woman who wants an abortion will almost surely get it, and a civilized health system takes care she gets it with minimal physical and emotional harm. If not, the state she lives is not civilized, no less.

  4. @Code5: I agree with your conclusion.

    I’d say keep an eye on institutions involved in health system: they can get really … oppressive, even in civilized countries. They may manipulate public opinion until you believe it IS OK to pay for this and that, because the poor institution wouldn’t survive fiscally otherwise AND some of them will send their most deserving members to hooker parties in exotic countries with your money…

    Still, if your community is halfway rich enough, they can help: I found out there are ways to get your abortion or pill subsidized or even paid by some German communal services, even though your health insurance wouldn’t do it. So health risks needn’t be the first choice.

  5. If I use the “new language of the internets” all I can say is OMFG (where the G is not meant in any religious context).

    I was also affraid something like this might happen, but had no idea what kind of batshit crazy people were hiding under the rocks of this coutry. E.g. I had no idea that exists, a very scary site indeed and a window to a whole new world which I was definitely not familiar with (call me naive).

    The problem is not the pill, the problem is where will they stop. This is only a rhetorical question. Packing my bags, leaving for Tahiti – there are insane people there too, but at least there is plenty of coconuts – and the Friday Foxies come every day of the week 😉

  6. @Uros: oh so true. You don’t have a slightest clue about the looneybin you live in, until you start to 1. watch the 3rd programme on the National Television with the live coverage of Slovenian Parliament; 2. read some of the most notorious Slovenian internet forums.

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