Conscientious objection in Italy

Abortion in Italy: how widespread ‘conscientious objection’ threatens women’s health and rights
Claudia Torrisi, 15 June 2017

Almost 40 years after abortion was legalised – amid mass protests and a broader cultural liberation movement – women still struggle to access crucial services.

A mass in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican. A mass in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican. Photo: Evandro Inetti/PA Images. All rights reserved.Laura, from Naples, decided to terminate her pregnancy on 6 June 2008. The baby she was expecting had been diagnosed with down syndrome, she explains. “I was 21 weeks into my pregnancy, and I took this decision.”

Early one morning, Laura went on her gynecologist’s recommendation to a hospital where she was admitted and labour was induced. But, she says, “the ward for abortions was open only half-day, because there weren’t enough doctors available.”

Read full article: Open Democracy

Abortion in Italy, a Right Wronged

By Ilaria Maria Sala
Nov. 13, 2017

Late last month, Cosimo Borraccino, a left-wing member of the regional council for Apulia, in southern Italy, proposed passing a local law to require the enforcement of national legislation granting women access to abortion. His opponents on the council, mostly from center-right parties, said the bill was unnecessary and that Mr. Borraccino was “slamming into a wall of self-evidence.”

Yet when it comes to reproductive rights in Italy, respect of the law is anything but self-evident. In fact, 9 out of 10 gynecologists in Apulia refuse to perform abortions, even though the right to obtain one has been legal since 1978. Nationwide statistics are only slightly less staggering: Seven out of 10 gynecologists in Italy won’t terminate a pregnancy.

Read full story: New York Times

Italy: Widespread conscientious objection violates right to health and right to work in dignity

Oct 31, 2017

Many thanks to Tania Pagotto, a Ph.D candidate in comparative public law at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice in Italy. She can be reached at: tania{.}pagotto at We thank her for commenting on two recent decisions by the European Committee on Social Rights:

International Planned Parenthood European Network v. Italy (2014), Complaint No. 87/2012, decision published 10 March 2014 (European Committee on Social Rights, Strasbourg, France) Decision online

Confederazione Generale Italiana del Lavoro (CGIL) v. Italy (2016), Complaint No. 91/2013 (European Committee on Social Rights, Strasbourg, France) Decision online .

Read full story: ReproHealthLaw

Conscientious Objection in Italy

Minerva F.


The law regulating abortion in Italy gives healthcare practitioners the option to make a conscientious objection to activities that are specific and necessary to an abortive intervention. Conscientious objectors among Italian gynaecologists amount to about 70%. This means that only a few doctors are available to perform abortions, and therefore access to abortion is subject to constraints. In 2012 the International Planned Parenthood Federation European Network (IPPF EN) lodged a complaint against Italy to the European Committee of Social Rights, claiming that the inadequate protection of the right to access abortion implies a violation of the right to health. In this paper I will discuss the Italian situation with respect to conscientious objection to abortion and I will suggest possible solutions to the problem.