Issued on: 23/09/2022
Italy’s surging far-right parties have been eroding abortion rights at the
regional level, adding further hurdles to what was already an obstacle course
for many women. With Giorgia Meloni’s right-wing coalition tipped to win the
country’s general election on Sunday, there are fears the same policies could
be replicated at the national level.
When Silvia* was taken off the pill on medical grounds, her doctor did not
mention the possibility of using other contraceptive methods. When she ended up
with an unwanted pregnancy months later, the same doctor chose to ignore her
request for an abortion.
The Brothers of Italy has further impeded access to abortion in the Marche region – a policy it could replicate nationally if it wins power
Angela Giuffrida in Ascoli Piceno
Mon 22 Aug 2022
When Giulia, 20, discovered she was pregnant she immediately decided that she wasn’t ready to have a baby. Supported by her boyfriend and family, she sought medical advice in her home town in Italy’s central Marche region on how to obtain an abortion. She faced obstacles at every turn, from telephones not being answered and surgeries being closed, to one doctor who tried to persuade her to change her mind.
Abortion in Italy was legalised in 1978, overturning an outright ban enforced by the fascist dictator Benito Mussolini who deemed it a crime against the Italian race, but the high number of gynaecologists who refuse to terminate pregnancies for moral reasons – 64.6%, according to 2020 data – has meant women still encounter huge difficulties in accessing safe procedures.