Italy unable to give all women access to abortion


Southern Europe


Nuns take part in a march organized by Italian Pro-Life anti-abortion movements. Photo AFP, Alberto Pizzoli

Even though abortion is legal in Italy, women often experience problems when trying to find someone who will perform the procedure. Statistics show that most gynaecologists are still opposed to terminating pregnancies.

That is reported by Il Giornale based on the latest statistics on abortions in Italy. The data, based on the year 2020, was released recently by the Italian government. Even though the number of objectors among gynaecologists decreased from 67 per cent in 2019 to 64.6 in 2020, it is still high, the Minister of Health, Roberto Speranza, said according to Il Giornale. Speranza asserts that many women still have to go to another place to find someone who will perform their abortion.

In some regions, the percentage of objectors is even higher, Dagen writes. In five out of the 20 health regions in Italy, more than 80 per cent of the gynaecologists refuses to perform an abortion based on conscientious objection.

Lack of personnel

Many hospitals and clinics do not offer abortion services due to a lack of personnel. Open Online writes that 36 per cent of the health facilities are unable to ensure the possibility of termination of pregnancies. The President of the Italian Federation of Healthcare and Hospitals says that it is clear that Italy must deal with a “patchy reality” as some patients have to go to clinics that are “not close to home.”

Regional doctor of the Centre for Fertility and Health in Italy, Leah Hoctor, finds that the Italian state disclaims its responsibility and disregards human rights. That is reported by Norge iDag. She points out that the Council of Europe has criticised the country twice for insufficient access to abortion. However, this has not changed anything.

Catholic resistance

Many objectors base their refusal to perform an abortion on their religious beliefs, Dagen writes. The Roman Catholic Church is strongly opposed to the practice of terminating a pregnancy. Pope Francis called it murder.

The Italian Association of Catholic Obstetricians and Gynaecologists says it must “counteract a culture of death and promote respect for life according to Christian principles.”



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