Anna Pompili

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    The Italian case: can MTOP minimize the problem of conscientious objection?

    Anna Pompili1, Mirella Parachini2, Giovanna Scassellati Sforzolini3, Gelsomina Orlando4, Daniela Valeriani5, Cristina Francesca Damiani6, Patrizia Facco7, Marina Marceca8 1Sapienza University, Rome, Italy, 2San Filippo Neri Hospital, Rome, Italy, 3San Camillo Hospital, Rome, Italy, 4San Giovanni Hospital, Rome, Italy, 5San Camillo Hospital, Rome, Italy, 6San Giovanni Hospital, Rome, Italy, 7Sandro Pertini Hospital, Rome, Italy, 8San Giovanni Evangelista, Tivoli, Italy - pompili.anna@tiscali.it

    In Italy abortion has been legal since 1978. During these 36 years, we have seen an increasing percentage of gynaecologists who declare themselves "conscientious objectors", in contrast with women's right to stop an unwanted pregnancy. The anti-choice front, which looks to catholic fundamentalism, forced an abuse of this right, in an attempt to obstruct women's access to safe abortion. The official data about conscientious objection from the Italian Health Ministry, reports a percentage of about 70% among gynaecologists, but this phenomenon concerns also anaesthetists (about 50%) and other health personnel (about 46%). In 2012, in a survey "in the field", we showed that data about conscientious objection are critical, with rates in some regions near to 100%. This abuse of conscientious objection has the intent to make the law a dead letter, negating "de facto" the right to reproductive health for many Italian women. In March 2014 the European Committee of Social Rights, on the basis of a complaint by IPPF-EN condemned Italy because the law is not applied; so, a lot of Italian women are forced to migrate from one region to another, even to other countries, because of the inability to exercise their reproductive rights. In this paper we want to give a real picture of the Italian situation, and try to analyse how easier access to MTOP would minimize the effect of the abuse of conscientious objection on women's rights.