National and international women’s and feminists’ associations are organising three days of activism in Verona, Italy, in opposition to the 2019 World Congress of Families, which is the world’s biggest gathering of international anti-abortion and anti-LGBT rights activists and their political allies. In 2018, Verona’s local council passed a municipal motion “to prevent abortion” and allow public money to fund anti-abortion groups and dissuade women from ending pregnancies. Italy’s interior minister and deputy premier Matteo Salvini, from the … Continued
The Italian feminist movement is mobilising to oppose the government coalition on the subject of abortion. The first protests took place in Verona in October, after the city adopted a motion to finance anti-abortion organisations and make it a so-called pro-life city by preventing abortions. Then a demonstration took place in Rome to denounce repeated attacks on women’s rights. An extreme right party, the League, is in power, in coalition with the 5 Stars … Continued
Seven doctors at Catania, Sicily’s Cannizzaro Hospital were indicted on 13 November 2018 for the October 2016 death of a 32-year-old woman who died of septicaemia after miscarrying twins. The charges are multiple culpable manslaughter. Valentina Milluzzo was 19 weeks pregnant with twins at the time, having undergone IVF treatment. She experienced cervical dilation and began to miscarry but life-saving, emergency action was not taken. Staff refused to carry out an abortion as long as … Continued
“Constitutional democracy was not born out of rights, but out of promises. It was not created containing, for example, the right to divorce, the right to terminate a pregnancy, or equal rights and obligations between spouses, and civil unions. In short, when we denounce the assault on these freedoms, we must keep in mind that these were not granted to us by constitutional democracy. Instead, it is constitutional democracy that gave us the opportunity to … Continued
This article opens: “Ireland will hold a referendum on 25 May… But tough law is not always needed to actually restrict access to abortion: in some countries where abortion is legal, women face increasing problems to access it because non-objecting gynaecologists are simply not available.” Italy is one of the few countries that keeps a record of doctors who refuse to do abortions, which have been legally guaranteed since 1978. Over the past 20 years, … Continued
An Italian woman has revealed she was turned away from 23 hospitals in north-west Italy when she was seeking abortion services, highlighting the disconnect between the country’s abortion laws and access to services. The 41-year-old mother of two came forward to share her story anonymously in Il Gazzettino. She became pregnant when her contraceptive failed. She was refused an abortion by her gynaecologist and her local hospital, and then began contacting other hospitals, which also … Continued
“The child’s heart is still beating.”: The story of the death of Valentina Milluzzo, a young woman from Catania, Sicily, in the 19th week of a pregnancy with twins
One of the themes of this issue of Conscience is “conscience and autonomy”. How did these concepts develop and what role have they played in determining our beliefs about abortion and other reproductive health issues? How do medical professionals weigh their personal beliefs against their responsibilities to patients? What about women who have no opportunities to exercise either conscience or autonomy in decisions about their reproductive health?
On 6 July, the Committee of Ministers under the European Social Charter adopted several resolutions after organisations filed formal complaints that women seeking abortions, and medical practitioners providing them, were being discriminated against in Italy.
The Council of Europe’s Social Rights Committee said Italy is violating women’s rights due to the serious difficulties they face in trying to obtain safe abortions because as many as 70% of doctors refuse to carry out the procedure.