The vote on abortion in Argentina with the missed depenalization has reignited the debate in Italy, also accomplices the statements of the Northern League senator Simone Pillon in an interview with the newspaper La Stampa (“Get rid of abortion, sooner or later we will get there as in Argentina”).
Landfall declared by the Northern League senator is “zero abortion”. A landing that goes to clash with what are the numbers of the Argentine situation, the real world that the vote of non-legalization seemed to ignore.
The clandestine abortion is the leading cause of maternal mortality in the Latin American country. “In Argentina, between 460,000 and 600,000 illegal abortions are practiced every year – said Emanuele Torre, expert on human rights and international politics in South America – Argentina and Latin America in general show us that bans and limits have as direct consequently the criminal practice of illegal abortion and the development of the black market of abortion drugs. The policy of “zero abortion” professed by the Northern League senator is absolutely surreal”. Under Argentine law, abortion can not be prosecuted in only two cases: if it is the only means of avoiding a danger to the mother’s life or health, or if pregnancy is the result of violence (the law of 1921) he predicts it on women “idiotas or dementes”, a sentence of the Supreme Court of 2012 has extended the casuistry to a case of violence on a girl capable of understanding and will).
“Statements such as “If a woman wants to abort we offer very large sums for not doing so and if you still want to prevent it” are based on a desire to violate personal liberties, in disregard of any fundamental ethical and moral principle of our country and our constitution – Torre continues – Pillon expressed a specific concern that would be at the base of his thought. The senator would have always told La Stampa that “We have to support motherhood otherwise in 2050 we extinguish as Italians”, a thesis for which according to the League should be limited if not to prohibit the interruption of pregnancy. But Pillon should consider the fact that just as the Constitution states that the abortion practice could in no case be used as a tool for birth control, ethically it would also be wrong to do the opposite”.
Law 194: a (theoretical) model
Law 194 was 40 years old last March but twelve months before the United Nations, sent a warning to the government, since the possibility of conscientious objection actually ended up walling in some parts of Italy the effective access to law to abort. The United Nations Human Rights Committee urged the Italian government in March 2017 to take the necessary measures to ensure regular and timely access to legal abortion services throughout the country for all women who asked for it.
“Women in Italy face serious risks to their health and well-being as a result of the Italian authorities’ failure to guarantee access to quality reproductive health services – said then Katrine Thomasen, consultant for the Center for Reproductive Rights – The Human Rights Committe has made it clear that the Italian government can not ignore its human rights obligations and must guarantee women access to legal abortion services”.
But there is still a lot to do and some recent examples of news show it. In Brindisi the Perrino hospital does not have a Voluntary Pregnancy Interruption service for conscientious objection of the entire department of obstetrics and gynecology; on past 11 September, the women of Naples fought (and won) a battle with the Local Sanitary Agency Naples 1, which had decided to involve the association “Parish for life” (allegedly anti-abortion) in preliminary consultative activities to the choice of abortion. After a meeting with various associations of both women and doctors, the resolution was withdrawn.
Form or substance?
The Europeans Parliament elections are approaching and only time will tell how much formal and what is substantial in Pillon’s statements, but the real game is different. “We should instead understand what the response of civil society to these statements. This is the real crux of the matter – concludes Emanuele Torre – I would be curious to know what would be the comment by Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, to the statements of the Italian senator. As President of Chile, in March 2017, Bachelet approved a law for the regulation of abortion in specific cases such as rape, the danger of life for the mother and particular conditions of health of the fetus. The beginning of a path that we hope will end with full regulation also in Chile”.