On Paper, Italy Allows Abortions, But Few Doctors Will Perform Them

Saturday, January 23, 2016

On Paper, Italy Allows Abortions, But Few Doctors Will Perform Them

From New York Times:

After Benedetta, 35, found out 11 weeks into herpregnancy that the baby she wanted with all myself had extremely serious genetic problems, she made a painful decision, and asked her longtime gynecologist for an abortion.

Her doctors refusal she said she was a conscientious objector to Italys law that makes abortion legal up to 90 days set off a desperate scramble to find a doctor who would help her.

At one hospital, doctors advised her to get a psychiatrists note saying she had threatened to kill herself, so that she could extend the legal time limit. At another, a doctor suggested that she just wait.

The fetus is incompatible with life; you will very likely lose it anyway past the 20th week thats what this doctor told me, Benedetta said, still angry and incredulous. She asked that her last name not be used to protect her privacy. To expect a woman to see her belly growing, to raise a doomed life, is inhumane.

I felt like a container, not a human being, she added.

After a fight that feminists in Italy still consider a signal achievement, abortion within 90 days of pregnancy and later for women in mental or physical danger, or in cases of serious fetal pathologies has been legal in this country for over three decades.

But that does not mean that finding a doctor to perform one is easy. Seventy percent of gynecologists up to 83 percent in some conservative southern regions are conscientious objectors to the law, and do not perform abortions for religious or personal reasons in a country that remains, culturally at least, overwhelmingly Catholic.

Read more here.


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