The Council of Europe Social Rights Committee has just condemned Italy, granting the request of the International Family Planning Federation, which, in 2012, in Italy, denounced the “excessive number of doctors refusing to carry out abortions on the grounds of conscientious objection”. On average, “70 % of doctors object”.
In 1978, when Italy adopted the law granting women the right to abortion, following the French legal system, the right to conscientious objection was included for doctors and medical staff involved in abortion. This right has now been challenged by this condemnation from the Council of Europe.
The Council of Europe sees the right to conscientious objection as a threat to abortion. “The COE Social Rights Committee upheld the complaint by 13 votes to 1 and is now committed to ensuring that Italy takes the ‘necessary measures’ to apply in full law 194 legalising abortion in this country”.
Mr. Ignacio Barreiro, director of the Rome office of Human Life International, stressed that, without having the power to limit the Italian government, the Council of Europe committee helps to increase pressure and fight for the “right” to abortion.
According to the National Statistics Agency, Istat, the number of abortions in Italy has been decreasing since the 1980s: In 1982, 16.7 abortions were performed on 1,000 women between 15 and 49 years of age compared to 8 per 1,000 women in the same age bracket in 2009.