23 Mar 2018

Abortion: a relentless fight against the Catholic Church

For the past 40 years, Italian women have had access to free and safe abortions. As a result, the number of procedures has dropped steadily. Yet the Church continues to attack the bill. Legal or not, abortion is always under threat.

Ingrid Colanicchia
Ingrid Colanicchia MicroMega, Italy
Source: MicroMega
Abortion: a relentless fight against the Catholic Church - NewsMavens
Clerical collar. Pixabay

Why this story matters:

The main obstacle to women's access to free and safe abortions has always been the Catholic Church -- both in Europe and beyond.

This week, the Argentinian Congress discusses legalizing abortion, and the local Church is relentless in its attempts to prevent it. In Poland, an extreme-right Catholic lobby is once again pressuring the government to further tighten abortion law. 

In Italy, the Church is continuously trying to undermine what women consider to be their greatest legal achievement of the 70s -- the 1978 law legalizing abortion. 

Italy's situation, however, has much to teach us. 

Data shows that, since the introduction of the bill, voluntary abortion in Italy has steadily decreased and has never become a means of birth control.

Yet this seems to escape the champions of the "no choice" movement. They fail to grasp that the only alternatives to a free and safe abortion are forced pregnancy or clandestine abortion.

health, religion, reproductive rights, women's issues

Details from the story:

  • In Argentina, the Congress is discussing a bill decriminalizing abortion created by the "Campaign for the right to legal, safe and free abortion". It permits the procedure in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy.
  • Currently, the country only allows abortion when the pregnancy results from rape or if it poses risk to the mother's life. Every year, 49,000 women are hospitalized due to complications after illegal abortions.
  • In Italy, we will soon celebrate the 40th anniversary of a law legalizing abortion, which was enforced in May 1978.
  • According to a December 2017 report of the Ministry of Health, 84,926 voluntary terminations of pregnancy were carried out in 2016. The figures are down by 3.1% compared to 2015 and by 63.8% in comparison with 1982 -- the year with the highest number of voluntary abortions in Italy (234,801 cases).
  • However, the percentage of the so-called "conscientious objections" remains very high. In 2016, 70.9%, gynecologists, 48.8% anesthetists and 44% of non-medical personnel refused to participate in abortions.
inbox_large_illu Created with Sketch.
Tired of the news media’s prevailing male perspective? We are too.

Get our newsletters composed exclusively by female journalists from all over Europe.


Project #Femfacts co-financed by European Commission Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology as part of the Pilot Project – Media Literacy For All

The information and views set out on this website are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the European Union. Neither the European Union institutions and bodies nor any person acting on their behalf may be held responsible for the use which may be made of the information contained therein.

NewsMavens is a media start-up within Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland's largest liberal broadsheet published by Agora S.A. NewsMavens is currently financed by Gazeta Wyborcza and Google DNI Fund.
Is something happening in your country that Newsmavens should cover?
Zuzanna Ziomecka
Zuzanna Ziomecka EDITOR IN CHIEF
Lea Berriault-Jauvin
Lea Berriault Managing Editor
Jessica Sirotin
Jessica Sirotin EDITOR
Ada Petriczko
Ada Petriczko EDITOR
Gazeta Wyborcza, Agora SA Czerska 8/10 00-732, Warsaw Poland
The e-mail addresses provided above are not intended for recruitment purposes. Messages concerning recruitment will be deleted immediately. Your personal data provided as part of your correspondence with Zuzanna,Lea, Jessica and Ada will be processed for the purpose of resolving the issue you contacted us about. The data provided in your email is controlled by Agora S.A. with its registered office in Warsaw Czerska 8/10 Street (00-732). You can find more information about the processing and protection of your personal data at https://newsmavens.com/transparency-policy