Italy: conscientious objection becomes generalised

Publié le : 7 June 2013

 In Italy, a growing number of gynaecologists and paramedical personnel refuse to carry out terminations of pregnancy. According to the National Institute of Statistics (Istat), this concerns 80% of Italian gynaecologists and 50% of anaesthetists and nurses. In Naples, for example, "a single hospital department is still open and in Sicily the abstention rate for specialists is 80.6%."            

This generalisation of conscientious objection, although involving individual decisions, is strongly criticized in some quarters. The principal argument is that the consequence of this conscientious objection is the rise in clandestine abortions ("going into clandestine clinics," procuring a "contraband RU486 pill" or ulcer medicines containing misoprostol "supplied by South-American traffickers."). In the Senate, "the Democrats tabled a motion calling for the government’s intervention and the full application of law 194 [the law passed in 1978 authorising abortion in Italy] throughout the country." This motion recommends notably "the recruitment of personnel favourable to abortion, the opening of family planning clinics and the application of pharmacological terminations of pregnancy." The Centrists have called on the Minister for Health, Beatrice Lorenzin, close to pro-life associations, to intervene in Parliament "in the framework of a discussion on clandestine abortion."

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