Italy passes contested plan to ‘support motherhood’ in abortion clinics

By Thomson Reuters Apr 23, 2024 | 1:04 PM

ROME (Reuters) – Italy’s Senate gave final approval on Tuesday to a contested government plan to allow groups who “support motherhood” into abortion clinics to try to deter women terminating pregnancies.

Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s Brothers of Italy party attached the proposal in an amendment to a bill on Rome’s post-COVID-19 recovery plan, which includes a chapter dedicated to the health sector.

Meloni is staunchly anti-abortion, but pledged during her victorious general election campaign in 2022 that despite her personal convictions she would not change existing legislation on the subject.

The Senate approved the bill to allow anti-abortion groups into publicly run family advice clinics by a vote of 95-to-68 in a confidence motion.

It had obtained a first green light in the lower house Chamber of Deputies last week, sparking fierce criticism among opposition parties that called it an attack on abortion rights in place since 1978.

Meloni’s party says the new provision is only aimed at giving women an opportunity for reflection before making a final decision on their pregnancy, and does not impinge on their rights.

Family advice clinics, which are part of the national health service, offer women sexual health, pregnancy and maternity support and services, including medical consultations and prescriptions.

(Reporting by Angelo Amante; editing by Gavin Jones and Leslie Adler)