ITALY: POSTSCRIPT – Why the convicted doctors received a suspended jail sentence

On 16 November, we reported in the newsletter that four doctors were found guilty of manslaughter in the 2016 maternal death of Valentina Milluzzo. She died from sepsis because the medical team refused to terminate her pregnancy because there was supposedly still a fetal heartbeat, even though the pregnancy was unviable and she was miscarrying. However, as we reported, the sentences were all suspended, meaning the doctors did not spend any time in prison.

Why, we asked. The reason is that according to ltalian law, if a court imposes a sentence of less than two years’ imprisonment on a person who has no previous criminal record, that sentence is declared “conditionally suspended”. The “condition” is that the person must not commit any other crime. If that person is later sentenced for any other crimes, making the total sentences exceed two years, then the person is obliged to serve the whole period imposed by all the sentences.

This raises another question: Since all the doctors in this case were conscientious objectors to abortion, have they been assigned to do other ob-gyn work (not in relation to any pregnancy) so as to avoid being confronted with another pregnant woman whose life is at risk and who may also need an emergency abortion?

SOURCE: Vita di Donna, E-mail, 20 November 2022 ; SEE: “ITALY: Four doctors found guilty of manslaughter in the 2016 maternal death of Valentina Milluzzo” ICWRSA Newsletter, 16 November 2022.