The Daily Beast
Barbie Latza Nadeau
ROME — If a woman wants to end her pregnancy in Italy, she has the legal right to do so under the public health system within the first 90 days, or first trimester, of the gestation. The law, known in Italy as Law 194, has been on the books for nearly 40 years, but it has one major flaw, say pro-choice advocates: It allows for doctors, nurses, anesthetists, and other assistants to an abortion procedure to be conscientious objectors. Boiled down, that means that many administrators of hospitals and clinics who do not support the pro-choice law simply hire abortion doctors who object to performing abortions.
The practice of hiring conscientious objectors is all-too-common across Italy. The national estimate of conscientious objectors hired as public health gynecologists mandated to perform abortions is around 70 percent, meaning seven out of 10 doctors can, but won’t, do the procedure. . . [Full text]
Interpress Service News Agency
ROME, Apr 5 2014 (IPS) – Two out of three doctors in Italy are ‘conscientious objectors’ to abortion, according to new data. The Italian Ministry of Health reveals that in 2011, 69.3 percent of doctors refused to carry out abortions, with peaks of over 85 percent in some regions.
In the face of such numbers, the ruling of the European Committee of Social Rights of the Council of Europe against Italy earlier this month over a complaint for violating the right to protection of health came as no surprise.
“The Italian situation really worries us, and this is why we filed the complaint,” Irene Donadio, advocacy officer at the International Planned Parenthood Federation European Network (IPPF_EN) told IPS. “We believe that there is a problem with the functioning and application of the abortion law, which, in fact, would be a good law but is often violated.
“We acknowledge the fact that the right to conscientious objection is included in the same law, but the right of women to access a service that is legal and fundamental for their health needs to be respected as much as this right.” [Full Text]