Reproductive wrongs

Protests erupt after Italian city officially declares itself ‘pro-life’

Protestors marched through the city of Verona in northern Italy over the weekend, incensed by the local government’s decision to officially declare the city pro-life.

A motion put forward by the far-right League party, which mandates public funding for anti-abortion groups and calls on the council to support programs that encourage pregnant women to give unwanted babies up for adoption, was approved earlier this month.

The motion flies in the face of a 1978 Italian law that allows women to have an abortion until the 90th day of their pregnancy, or through the fifth month if the abortion is deemed medically necessary. But this is by no means the first time that the law has faced resistance. The Vatican continues to vociferously condemn abortions; last week, Pope Francis likened the procedure to hiring “a hitman to resolve a problem.” According to the Agence France-Presse, privately funded hospitals, some of which are funded by the Catholic Church, are allowed to refuse to perform the procedures.

Saturday’s march was led by women in white conical hats, similar to the ones worn by oppressed female characters in the television adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale.

“We are furious, so are many women who fought in the 1970s to legalize safe, free abortions,” Sara De Falco, a member of one of the organizations that organized the protest, told AFP.

The new measure in Verona drew support from Italy’s Family Minister Lorenzo Fontana, who is a member of the League. He maintained that the tenets simply helps “a woman choose, so she can carry her baby to term.”

Tommaso Ferrari, a local opposition politician, disagrees. He told the AFP that with the new measure, Verona risks “turning back the clock” and being “labeled as an intolerant city.”

Read the full story at the AFP.


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