Fewer babies are dying in Italy thanks to a reluctance on the part of doctors there to kill them in abortions. A new report from a group of Italian gynecologists shows that the decline in the number of physicians wanting to kill babies continues.
The main reason is that fewer doctors who work in Italy’s public health facilities are willing to perform abortions. Italy’s abortion law requires all hospitals to provide access to the procedure. But the law also gives gynecologists the option to declare themselves “conscientious objectors.”
“For example, in the public University of Rome, we have more than 60 doctors but only two provide abortion, only two,” said Silvana Agatone, a gynecologist in Rome.
Agatone is the president of a group of gynecologists that wants to make it easier for Italian women to get an abortion. She says that conscientious objections are happening more often even when women’s lives are in danger. So, in practice, when women show up at a public hospital in Italy seeking an abortion, many of them end up being turned away.
“In 2005, the percentage of gynecologists that didn’t provide abortion was about 59 percent,” she said. “Now [it is] 70 percent. And it’s growing every year.”
In some parts of the country, the percentage of doctors who refuse to perform abortions is as high as 90 percent.
And it’s not just gynecologists who can refuse to carry out an abortion. Nurses and anesthesiologists can refuse to perform the procedure on moral grounds.
What’s the response from the pro-abortion side? A petition to force hospitals to ensure there is at least one doctor on staff who will do abortions.