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Women in Rome, Naples rally to keep abortion law intact

Women in Rome, Naples rally to keep abortion law intact

Hundreds of women rallied in Rome and Naples on Thursday to protest the police interrogation of a woman immediately after she had an abortion as well as election campaigns by conservatives to try to tighten Italy's law permitting abortion.
In Rome, Health Minister Livia Turco came down from her office in a show of solidarity with the demonstrators, who held placards with slogans such as "women do the choosing."
State TV said one woman was detained by police after the protesters moved their rally to a square in central Rome.
Turco has denounced an incident earlier in the week in a Naples hospital, where police rushed in to interrogate a woman only minutes after she had aborted a 21-week-old fetus. The 39-year-old woman has said in interviews that she had the abortion days after she learned that the fetus had a grave genetic defect. News reports said that the aborted fetus was seized as evidence.
The investigation came amid a drive to limit the point in pregnancy when abortions are allowed. Proponents of the limits say that medical advances mean that fetuses as young as 21 weeks can sometimes survive.
Abortion through the end of the third month of pregnancy was legalized in 1978, and three years later, Italians, defying stiff opposition from the Vatican, voted in a referendum to keep the law. Abortion after three months is allowed when the pregnancy is deemed a grave danger to the woman's mental or physical health.
Abortion has also become an issue in the battle for the premiership between conservative media mogul Silvio Berlusconi and center-left candidate Walter Veltroni.
Former Premier Berlusconi, while saying individuals are free to choose, said he wants the United Nations to approve a worldwide moratorium on abortions. A prominent Berlusconi supporter, newspaper editor Giuliano Ferrara, sharpened the debate by announcing he'll run for Parliament in the April 13-14 elections on an anti-abortion platform.
Veltroni was quoted by the Italian news agency Apcom Thursday as defending Italy's abortion law. He cited statistics showing a steep drop in abortions since 1978. The law also "wiped out the plague of clandestine abortions which caused so many deaths among women," the candidate was quoted as saying.


Updated : 2021-10-19 01:25 GMT+08:00