Italy Investigates Botched Abortion of Healthy Twin, Disabled Brother Lives

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 27, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Italy Investigates Botched Abortion of Healthy Twin, Disabled Brother Lives Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 27,

Rome, Italy ( — Officials in Italy are investigating a botched abortion done on twin brothers where the healthy brother became the victim of the abortion and the twin, who has Down syndrome, lived. The disabled brother was the target of the abortion procedure and the case is raising the ugly specter of abortions done to kill disabled people.

The abortion was done on a 38-year-old woman in June at a hospital in Milan, but news of the mistake only recently came to the public’s attention.

Doctors at the San Paolo hospital told Italian media that the babies moved during the abortion procedure and changed position compared to their locations during a pre-abrotion examination.

According to the London Guardian, hospital officials have given the proper paperwork and information to authorities.

After doctors realized their mistake, they notified the woman in question. She returned to the hospital to have the disabled baby aborted as well and then reported the doctors to the police.

The case has caused some in the political scene to call for a review of the nation’s abortion laws.

Leftist Senator Paola Binetti wrote in the Corriere della Sera newspaper that, "The time has come to re-examine the abortion law’ that dates back to 1978."

"What happened in this hospital was not a medical abortion but an abortion done for the purposes of eugenics," she said. "They wanted to kill the sick fetus and save the healthy one and what didn’t work properly in this business was the selection."

Christian Democrat politician Luca Volonte also denounced the failed abortion as "infanticide arising from a contempt for human life."

But pro-abortion Health Minister Livia Turco defended the pro-abortion laws as "very wise" and said they should not be changed.

This is the second time that an abortion planned for a disabled baby has gone wrong.

In March, a baby boy died who became the victim of an abortion after doctors failed a disability test on him. Physicians advised his mother to have an abortion after they had misdiagnosed a physical deformity but the boy survived the procedure.

Doctors at the teaching hospital Careggi performed two ultrasounds on the boy and his mother and they said he had a defective esophagus. That’s a disorder that surgery could have corrected after birth in some cases.

However, when they went to abort the baby boy, they discovered he was healthy and desperately tried to resuscitate him.

The boy was born healthy and lived for six days following the failed abortion, which was done at 22 weeks into the pregnancy.

Italy’s abortion law allows abortions up to 24 weeks of pregnancy in certain cases but it also requires doctors to do all they can to save the life of a baby who survives a botched abortion attempt.

There are about 138,000 abortions that take place annually in the European nation.