Since 1978, Italy has had a law stating that every woman is guaranteed access to abortion within 90 days of getting pregnant. But that’s a paper promise, because guess what? Thanks to the vise grip the Catholic Church has on health care in Italy,
Nine out of 10 obstetricians and gynaecologists working in public hospitals in some districts are now publicly refusing
… to perform the procedure, reports the Independent.
In one case this year, 28-year-old Valentina Magnanti was left to give birth to a severely-malformed child in a hospital toilet in Rome because none of the doctors would treat her. The woman’s request for medically induced abortion had been granted. But after taking the drugs needed to induce the termination process, the hospital was unable to find willing medical and nursing staff to complete the procedure.
One women’s advocate pointed out the cause of the problem: it has to do, she says, with
… the influence of the Catholic Church on reproductive health, particularly in and around Rome where many major hospitals — although funded by the state — are owned and run by the Church, which determines hiring policy. Pope Francis came out in support of [anti-abortion] objectors earlier this year, giving fresh impetus to anti-abortion groups.
There’s nothing illegal about the Vatican working to hollow out the 1978 law, as the text contains a provision saying that medical staffers who’d be troubled by their conscience if they performed abortions may refuse to render such services.
As bad as the situation currently is for women who don’t want to carry a child to term, it’s still better than it was before the law become effective:
Prior to 1978, abortions were banned in Italy under a Mussolini-era law that labelled them a “crime against the purity of the Italian race“.
Speaking of purity: Though widely ignored, the Church’s rule against “artificial” birth control still drives a lot of the demand for abortion. Should the Pope and his padres do away with that prohibition, the number of aborted foetuses would likely plummet.
(Thanks to Brian for the link. Image via Shutterstock)