ITALY – Italy passes a law, tabled by Brothers of Italy Party, allowing local regions to allow anti-abortion groups to talk to women seeking an abortion at abortion clinics

Brothers of Italy is the political party of Giorgia Meloni, the anti-abortion leader of the Italian government. The supporters of the bill claim that it “fulfils the original intent of the 1978 law legalising abortion, known as Law 194, which has always included provisions intended to prevent abortion and support motherhood”. The new legislation is euphemistically described as “permitting groups ‘with a qualified experience supporting motherhood’ to have access to women considering abortions at public clinics”.

Some members of the medical profession have questioned “the wisdom of allowing medically unqualified, anti-abortion groups access to women considering abortion”. In fact, it seems “this is already happening in some regions, by people whose qualifications, if any, you don’t know about,” said Silvana Agatone, president of the pro-choice association LAIGA.

Democratic Party senator Beatrice Lorenzin, a member of the opposition, said the bill had been passed by “a part of the government majority, without a parliamentary debate, without any discussion, and without allowing us to go deep into the topic.”. If the video shown very briefly, on the Euronews report referenced below, of the senators present when the bill was passed, it did appear that only a very small number of senators –sitting together in one section of the room — were present when the bill passed.

Meanwhile, although under the original Italian law, women are permitted to have an abortion on request in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, or later if their health or life is endangered, the law also does open a door to interference like this. Moreover, the extent of so-called conscientious objection among Italian clinicians remains very high and often forces women to travel to other parts of Italy to get an abortion at all.

Giorgia Meloni has dismissed opposition to the amendment as “fake news” and said that allowing those with a pro-life message into abortion clinics was “only intended to fully inform women”.

In any case, Italy’s birth rate, already one of the lowest in the world, has been falling steadily for about 15 years and reached a record low last year with just 379,000 babies born. Will everyone seeking an abortion be forced to listen to an unqualified anti-abortion representative harp at them? What will happen if women refuse to listen?

SOURCE: Euronews with AP, 24 April 2024 + PHOTO by Gregorio Borgia/AP 2024