ITALY – The Biomedical Campus of Rome calls abortion a crime against natural law

The Biomedical Campus of Rome defines the voluntary termination of pregnancy in its statutes as a “crime” and imposes conscientious objection on its students, in open violation of Law 194. This also applies to young doctors attending the Institute’s obstetrics and gynaecology graduate school, although the Biomedical Campus of Rome is accredited by the National Observatory for Specialist Medical Training. 

In response, the Italian Medical Association on Contraception and Abortion (l’Associazione Medici Italiani Contraccezione e Aborto, AMICA) has called for the “revocation of accreditation of the Biomedical Campus of Rome unless the trainees are assured of comprehensive training, including on contraception and voluntary termination of pregnancy, taking into account the principles of secularism and of good medical practice”. 

This appeal was sent to the Italian Minister of Health and Minister of University Education by more than 50 gynaecologists, psychiatrists and other health care providers, as well as the Luca Coscioni Association for the Freedom of Scientific Research and the Union of Rationalist Atheists and Agnostics. Among politicians, support came from Laura Boldrini, Member and Former President of the Italian Chamber of Deputies, and Riccardo Magi, Member of the Italian Chamber of Deputies.

Since 2014, graduates in medicine and surgery can access university post-graduate schools in obstetrics and gynaecology only after passing a national competitive exam. It is based on the final ranking that the winners are assigned to the various schools. In order to guarantee adequate theoretical and clinical training, the Ministry of Education defined the requirements and indicators of training and assistance activities necessary for accreditation by the various schools in a decree of 13 June 2017… 

Among the specialist post-graduate schools in obstetrics and gynaecology is the Biomedical Campus of Rome, which continues to receive graduate students from the national ranking list. The principles that inspire this university are contained in their Charter of Purpose – Article 10 says that “teaching and non-teaching staff, students and university students undertake to respect the life of the human being from the moment of conception until natural death” and that “they consider voluntary abortion and so-called euthanasia as crimes against natural law”. Article 11 then states that “the teaching and non-teaching staff, students and university students recognise that “human procreation depends on laws registered by the Creator in the very being of man and woman, and is always worthy of the most high consideration”.

These statements raise questions about the training offered by the Biomedical Campus of Rome to obstetrics and gynaecology specialists, given the confessional approach, and whether they exclude teaching on fundamental professional services, such as abortion and contraception. Law 194 does not permit conscientious objection being imposed by a school to which a person has been assigned based on ranking and not as a “free personal choice”. 

In addition to revoking the accreditation of the Biomedical Campus of Rome, the petitioners asked the Minister of Health Roberto Speranza to specify in writing, the criteria and fundamental requirements for accreditation, which topics must be compulsorily addressed in the curricula of the specialist schools. In particular, they call for the inclusion in obstetrics and gynaecology training of voluntary termination of pregnancy, contraception and assisted fertilisation as subjects that must not be excluded…. 

Note: Since this article was published, the press office of the Biomedical Campus of Rome told that “the UCBM School of Specialisation in Gynaecology and Obstetrics follows the training course and the professionalising activities required by current regulations and ensures complete training”. It seems students are sent to public hospitals for the “contested” aspects of the training.

SOURCE: Il Fatto Quotidiano, by Stefano Galeotti. 30 January 2020 (Testo originale in italiano)