Political party posters are an interesting study in how politics is condensed into an easy-to-digest format to promote political ideas. Sometimes it can be a bit too watered down, too simplified – In a sort of grey area between information about what your party stands for, to outright lies and propaganda.
One of these posters that struck me as very propaganda-like was the Social Democrat poster in the last election cycle featuring Anna Strandhäll, minister of Social Affairs in Sweden. It was presented as a response to the Sweden Democrats suggestion to lower the period where you legally can make an abortion from week 18 to week 12 and was first presented on the Social Democrats own homepage.
“We will never Compromise on women’s right to rule over their own bodies”, translation from Swedish on the Social Democrats election poster.
This poster has a very absolute message, through this kind of language you don’t leave any questions on the table and is a very common tactic to use in politics when you want to deliver a statement. Especially such a targeted statement, with a specific goal in mind: To separate yourself from another party’s message.
But is the statement true? Well, no, not at all.
The 18-week abortion limit (that can be raised if there are medical reasons) is a compromise in itself. I’m guessing “We don’t want stricter rules on what women can do than that other party” isn’t as powerful of a message?
Half a year before the election, the Social Democrat-led government voted down a bill on making surrogacy legal in Sweden, those who want to undertake surrogacy need to travel outside the Swedish borders in order to complete the procedure and then return.
So, women are allowed to rule over their bodies, except when they use it to carry someone else’s baby? That seems like a compromise to me.
There are plenty more compromises that affect women as a group more directly (self-defense issues, drug restrictions, limits on speech) and there is a reason to why this single issue is drummed up as much: Control is everything to the ruling elite. Every time they can get away with being on the “fair” side, the side that wants to give you more control over yourself and your life (or rather: not restrict you as much as the opponents want to), they will grab that opportunity and ride that issue until its a dead, beaten horse.
They are not self-aware enough to see they are the problem, that they can not micro manage everyone’s life better than people themselves can – But, they will for sure try and act like they did a good thing in the process while doing it.
The question the politicians need to ask themselves is not if its good to make abortion in week 18 versus week 12, but why they are the ones imposing these limits on people without knowing who they even are or the actual situation at hand.