Public Radio International
The World Staff
Italy legalized abortion 40 years ago. But according to a group of Italian gynecologists, access to the procedure has been declining for years now.
The main reason is that fewer doctors who work in Italy’s public health facilities are willing to perform abortions. Italy’s abortion law requires all hospitals to provide access to the procedure. But the law also gives gynecologists the option to declare themselves “conscientious objectors.”
“For example, in the public University of Rome, we have more than 60 doctors but only two provide abortion, only two,” said Silvana Agatone, a gynecologist in Rome. . . [Full text]
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 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]
In Italy, conscientious objectors make it difficult to have an abortion
On the books, abortion in Italy is legal. In practice, it is out of reach for many women.
An unprecedented wave of so-called conscientious objectors — doctors declining to perform abortions for personal or religious reasons — is sweeping the country. Today, 70 percent of Italian gynecologists and 48.4 percent of anesthesiologists decline to perform terminations, according to a report from the Italian health ministry presented in December.
In more conservative regions such as Sicily and Campania, as much as 84 percent of doctors object to abortion. That leaves a tiny group of abortion providers to deal with a huge demand for terminations. . . [Full text]
Figure has risen from 59% in 2005 and has been accompanied by increase in reported miscarriages
Stephanie Kirchgaessner, Pamela Duncan, Alberto Nardelli, Delphine Robineau
Seven in 10 Italian gynaecologists refuse to carry out abortions on the grounds of conscientious objection, according to official government figures.
The rise – which saw the proportion of those objecting go from 59% in 2005 to 70% in 2013 – has been accompanied by a steady increase in reported miscarriages, trends that some doctors say are linked. They suggest more women are seeking abortions in clinics that are not legally providing them or are inducing abortions themselves.
“Women are getting abortions, but doing it illegally, because we know there are so many who are arriving at our clinic who have a quote-unquote spontaneous abortion [or miscarriage]. They probably took a pill … we understand [these to be an] illegal abortion,” said Silvana Agatone, a gynaecologist in Rome. . .[Full text]