Italy’s Presidential Election Sees Abortion Play Role With Berlusconi Opposition

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 12, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Italy’s Presidential Election Sees Abortion Play Role With Berlusconi Opposition Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 12,

Rome, Italy ( — Abortion is playing a prominent role in the upcoming April presidential elections in Italy as front-runner Silvio Berlusconi has endorsed a call for an international moratorium on abortions. Berlusconi told the weekly Tempi magazine that the UN should follow a death penalty moratorium with one on abortion.

"I think that recognizing the right to life from conception to natural death is a principle that the U.N. could make its own, just as it did with the moratorium on the death penalty," he said.

Berlusconi is the former premier and, after Italians replaced him with Prime Minister Romano Prodi, they saw the nation become more pro-abortion and withdraw its objections to embryonic stem cell research funding.

Berlusconi’s center-left opponents have rejected the call for a moratorium, first laid out by pro-life journalist Giuliano Ferrara and seconded by Italian Cardinal Camillo Ruini, the pope’s vicar for Rome.

Polling data shows Berlusconi is likely to win the April 13-14 parliamentary elections and measures to restrict abortions further could be on the table if that happens.

Such measures could include one to limit late-term abortions.

Last month, MP Sandro Bondi filed a bill that would halt late-term abortions 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.

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.

Meanwhile, the current Italian government appeared to be headed towards approving the dangerous RU 486 abortion drug and Berlusconi’s cabinet would be much less likely to push for that.