Doctors Refuse to Perform Legalized Abortions

Abortion was legalized nationwide in Italy in 1978, but the same law includes a conscientious objection clause that states: “Health personnel and allied health personnel shall not be required to assist in the procedures … or in pregnancy terminations if they have a conscientious objection, declared in advance.” Due to conscientious objection, 70 percent of gynecologists in Italy refuse to terminate a pregnancy, with some areas of the country having refusal rates as high as 90 percent. Some nurses and anesthesiologists refuse to participate based on moral grounds as well.

According to The Guardian, “the issue [of conscientious objectors] is worrying a relatively small but vocal group of doctors who are nearing retirement age and say that Italy is facing a crisis of the availability of certain kinds of abortion, with many younger doctors uninterested and even unprepared to take on the task. At the same time, they fear more women are taking matters into their own hands.”