Italy MP Files Bill to Limit Late-Term Abortions After Baby Survives One

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 1, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Italy MP Files Bill to Limit Late-Term Abortions After Baby Survives One Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 1,

Rome, Italy ( — A member of the Italian parliament has filed a bill that would halt late-term abortions there following a case of a baby boy 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.

Sandro Bondi of the Forza party also says advances in technology that allow doctors to help more premature babies survive and 3-D and 4-D ultrasounds providing a spectacular look at a baby’s development prompted him to file the bill.

Bondi told Italy’s AGI news service, "It is a question of amending ministerial directives, a purely administrative act, to adapt the norms of Act 194 to new medical technologies."

He said he hopes to "avoid the repetition of such harrowing cases such as that of Florence’s Careggi Hospital, where a 22-week old baby survived an attempted abortion for some days, based on a pre-natal diagnosis which turned out to have been mistaken."

Act 194, Italy’s 30-year-old law allowing abortions hasn’t changed, Bondi told AGI, while "during this time medicine has made progress, technologies and therapies have changed."

"Today a very premature baby has much higher chances of surviving, and one should not fail to take this into account, just as one cannot afford to ignore the trend towards eugenics, which seems to be sneaking in through the loopholes in this law," he added.

Bondi said his measure would target abortions done after three months into pregnancy and would also urge the European nation to enforce parts of the abortion law that encourage women to carry a pregnancy to term.

According to a Catholic World News report, Dr. Paola Binetti, a leader of the Teodem wing of the Democratic Party, has backed the measure.

"Sandro Bondi’s motion is a great step toward justice," she said, adding that she would support a free vote to allow members of her party to vote their conscience.

Another Democratic Party leader, Marina Sereni, said the party would not support Bondi’s bill.

Italy’s Minister of Health, Livia Turco, says she supports an abortion debate but wants no changes to Act 194, the abortion law. Turco told AGI that she thinks the abortion law has done a good job in prohibiting illegal abortions.

In the case in question, 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.