More Italian Doctors Refusing to Provide Abortion Care

Last week, the Italian Health Ministry reported that nearly 70 percent of gynecologists in the country now refuse to perform abortions on moral grounds. Although Italy legalized abortion in 1978, the Vatican has pushed for doctors to claim a “conscientious objection” and refuse to provide abortion care. The number of gynecologists claiming such an exemption rose from 58.7 percent to 69.2 percent, from 2003 to 2007, according to the Ministry.

When presenting these findings, outgoing Health Minister Livia Turco called on Italy’s various regional health authorities to “guarantee an abortion service” despite the growing number of doctors who have moral objections to the procedure.

The Health Ministry also reported an increase in immigrant women seeking abortion care, despite a decrease in the rates of legal and illegal abortions.

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