(Photo from http://static.pourfemme.it)
In Italy, illegal abortions are on the rise, from North to South, with the decline and close end of the Act 194. The ‘194’ allows women, in those cases provided by law, to have recourse to the voluntary interruption of pregnancy in a public facility in the first 90 days of gestation.
More and more women indeed find barred doors, closed wards, gynaecologists (over 80%), and anesthetists and nurses (around 50%) who are ‘conscientious objectors’ and thus, do not perform abortions.
This causes the birth of illegal clinics, where women are forced to go, and the smuggling of medicines. A real business that does not care about the health of its patients. Some of them die – due to hemorrhage or blood poisoning- others become infertile. However, the issue still remains a taboo in the Southern European country.
Few weeks ago an illegal clinic has been dismantled by the Italian finance police in Padua. Managed by the Chinese mafia, it used to earn 4.000 euro, a day. Most of the patients were immigrant, but also many Italian women.
According to the calculations of the Ministry of Health there have been twenty thousands cases of illegal abortions, but this figure is not quite right though, since statistics and data have not been updated since 2008. The real amount could be at least twice as much.
The gynaecologist Carlo Flamigni bitterly stated: “A silence conspirancy floats around the law 194. Access to services is getting more and more complicated, and the least experiences women, the most fragile, the youngest and the foreigners fall into the trap of illegality. I think today you can find any kind of medicines in the black marjet, even the Ru486 – the morning-after pill. It’s a defeat for anyone, because the law used to function well”.
How is it possible that women of the new millennium are being rejected by public and legal health services and have to go back to secrecy and illegality as forty years ago?
The institutions should not underestimate this growing problem, on the contrary, they should find solutions as soon as possible. If you do not want to force doctors to practice against their will, respecting the Hippocratic Oath, you may at least establish safe places, in which women can have an abortion legally.
In Italy, theoretically, these clinics already exist, they are called ‘consulting rooms’ (consultori)- different from hospitals – but apparently they are not as effective as it sometimes does not even grant you the morning-after pill.
Each of us has the right to have his/her own ideas and own principles, but if the doctor’s duty is to help and save people, why to let women die or risk their life? If there is a law that allows abortion, then let’s not fall into oblivion.