The Daily Beast
Barbie Latza Nadeau
ROME — If a woman wants to end her pregnancy in Italy, she has the legal right to do so under the public health system within the first 90 days, or first trimester, of the gestation. The law, known in Italy as Law 194, has been on the books for nearly 40 years, but it has one major flaw, say pro-choice advocates: It allows for doctors, nurses, anesthetists, and other assistants to an abortion procedure to be conscientious objectors. Boiled down, that means that many administrators of hospitals and clinics who do not support the pro-choice law simply hire abortion doctors who object to performing abortions.
The practice of hiring conscientious objectors is all-too-common across Italy. The national estimate of conscientious objectors hired as public health gynecologists mandated to perform abortions is around 70 percent, meaning seven out of 10 doctors can, but won’t, do the procedure. . . [Full text]
ROME – Although Italy claims to have one of the most sophisticated abortion laws in the world, what it apparently doesn’t have are doctors willing to perform them.
Law 194, signed in 1978 and approved by popular referendum in 1981 over the Church’s stern opposition, allows for the woman wishing to have an abortion to do so within the first 90 days of pregnancy. It also created public counseling facilities for the purpose of providing women with alternatives to abortion.
One of the main aspects of law 194 is that it permits doctors to be conscientious objectors and therefore refuse to terminate a pregnancy. What makes Italy unique is that an overwhelming majority of doctors fall under this category. On average, seven out of ten doctors are conscientious objectors. . . [Full text]
The Christian Times
A public hospital’s decision to hire two doctors who are willing to perform abortions have caused an outcry from Catholics in Italy, where most doctors refuse to carry out the procedure.
Under Italy’s “Law 194,” which was introduced in 1978, abortion is allowed up to 12 weeks into pregnancy for medical and personal reasons, AFP reported. However, doctors in the public service may refuse to perform the procedure on grounds of “conscientious objection.”
The issue sparked controversy after the San Camillo hospital in Rome advertised positions for two gynecologists, stipulating that those appointed should be willing to carry out abortions. Those who fail to conduct the procedure within the first six months of their appointment would put themselves at risk of being fired.
San Camillo hospital ad rekindles church versus state debate on reproductive rights
The Irish Times
An Italian hospital’s insistence that applicants for two gynaecology vacancies be prepared to carry out abortions, or face dismissal, has rekindled a church versus state debate on women’s reproductive rights.
Under Italy’s 1978 abortion legislation, any doctor in the public service may decline to carry out a pregnancy termination on grounds of “conscientious objection”. The percentage of conscientious objectors in Italy is about 70 per cent nationwide, and as high as almost 90 per cent in southern regions such as Sicily and Molise. . .[Full text]
Rome hospital aims to combat rampant conscientious objection
(ANSA) – Brussels, February 22 – Rome’s San Camillo Hospital’s call for two abortion doctors to skirt widespread conscientious objection against terminating pregnancies is “not envisaged” by the law, Health Minister Beatrice Lorenzin said Wednesday, stressing that conscientious objection is respected in Italy.
However, she said that but hospitals can ask regional governments to complete “specific individual services”.
Earlier the Italian Bishops Conference (CEI) slammed the planned hiring of two gynecologists at the San Camillo on a contract that reportedly envisages their dismissal if they refuse to perform abortions because it is against their consciences. . . [Full text]