How Italy is Emptying Its Abortion Law

Italy has on paper a liberal abortion law. Yet, in practice it is becoming more and more complicated for women to terminate their pregnancy, and the number of illegal abortions is reportedly increasing. Religious beliefs and political weakness when it comes to defending this constitutional right of women are keeping Italy in the Dark Ages of reproductive rights.

Theoretically, a woman in Italy can decide to have an abortion – IVG, spontaneous interruption of pregnancy- within the first three months of pregnancy. After that term, abortion is allowed solely if the mother’s life is at risk, and upon medical request.

But Italy is also a Catholic country, hence, the same law that allowed abortions, the law 194 passed in 1978, also allows doctors and nurses to refuse the surgery if it goes against their religious beliefs.

It is all good on paper, but the reality is dramatically different.

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