Italy’s ‘fetus graves’ renew abortion debate

Discovery of burials women did not authorise highlights issues of stigma, Catholic groups’ influence and medical community’s failure.

By Virginia Pietromarchi
16 Oct 2020

Rome, Italy – The words on the crucifix read Francesca Rossi*. Yet Francesca Rossi was standing right in front of it, alive.

Many other wooden crosses bearing only a female name and a date were also stuck in the ground nearby, some dating back as far as 2004.


‘Absurd’ rules obstruct abortion access in Italy during COVID-19

‘Absurd’ rules obstruct abortion access in Italy during COVID-19
Abortion has been legal in Italy for 40 years but guidelines say medical terminations must occur in hospitals – now overwhelmed by the pandemic. Italiano

Francesca Visser
3 April 2020

As coronavirus infections spread throughout northern Italy, Lisa* got pregnant. In her late 40s, with two children, a precarious job and poor health, she said: “Unfortunately I realised I was pregnant unexpectedly, above all at my age”.

She decided to have an abortion, which has been legal for most of Lisa’s life. But these services are hard to access even in ‘normal’ times. Many doctors refuse to provide them, and unlike in other European countries, medical abortions in Italy are only available at hospitals, and only up to seven weeks of pregnancy.