Before Obama, there was Zapatero.
In 2004, Spanish voters elected Jose Zapatero as Prime Minister of Spain. The candidate for the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party wasted no time in instituting same-sex “marriage,” overturning the conservative country’s pro-life laws, and making “Education for Citizenship”— a curriculum based on the concept that there is no right or wrong — a required course for school children.
In May 2011 — in a rout similar to our 2010 elections — voters in Spain threw out the long-serving Socialists in regional elections. After decades of socialists’ ruling, Spain faces a new day.
Unrelated to the elections, but in a fateful twist of timing, I was in Madrid just days later. Pro-family government officials had invited me to speak on the pro-life movement in the U.S.
Though we have far to go in the U.S. to protect life and family, we do have valuable experiences from which other countries can benefit. The members of Spain’s Congress, civil society, and media who filled the room in the Capitol building that day were surprised to learn how our failures became stepping stones for later success and that it can take years to see results if we are persistent. They also learned how it takes a variety of people, inside and outside of government, working together to show the reality of abortion’s impact on babies, women, and society to change public opinion and laws.
Many in the audience had not heard that women who regret their abortions are now speaking out. Most likely, it’s because post-abortive women in Spain are not yet ready to do so. A university professor said that her students, the women in particular, need to hear this. So I gave her a copy of “After the Choice,” CWA’s powerful DVD in which women explain why they had their abortion, what happened during their abortion, and the effect on them since. The grateful professor said she will show it in her classes.
Congressman Angel Pintado, who sponsored the event, is president of Parlamentarios y Governantes Por La Vida y La Familia, an international organization for pro-life and pro-family parliamentarians. European pro-lifers face different challenges than American pro-lifers do: their byzantine government systems and lack of civic spirit manifests itself in heavy reliance by citizens on government services. But the Congressman’s enthusiasm matches the opportunities now available, and he’s eager to go beyond the “way it’s always been done” in order to build a culture of life.
Reflecting on our experience in America, he wrote, “Once again I would like to express my gratitude while I congratulate you for the clarity of your ideas, your rigorous work and for the successes you have achieved in the U.S.”
America can still be a shining city on a hill, providing hope for those working to make their own countries better. Congressman Pintado and his allies could use our prayers.