Italy’s Common Ground on Abortion

Italy's Chamber of Deputies
Italy's Chamber of Deputies (photo: Center for European Politics)

Is Italy showing how opposing sides can find common ground on abortion?

The Italian Parliament today agreed on a text to present the U.N. General Assembly asking for a resolution against the practice of abortion as a means of population control and asserting the right of every woman not to be forced to have abortions.

The motion, which was introduced by Rocco Buttiglione, the president of the center-right UDC Party and an old friend of Popes Benedict XVI and John Paul II, passed with just a few abstentions.

Buttiglione stated that the Italian Chamber of Deputies (Italy’s Lower House) “committed the government to promote, by seeking the necessary consensus, a United Nations resolution condemning the use of abortion as a means of population control and asserting the right of every woman not to be forced to have abortions and promoting policies that help to remove the economic causes and social consequences of abortion.”

”We all agree,” Buttiglione said, “that abortion is an evil, but we are divided amongst those who are for life and those who believe it is a choice. It’s now time to fight together against those in the world who are both against life and against choice.”

In the parliamentary debate, Buttiglione, without mentioning China or other countries with coercive population-control policies by name, highlighted the problem: “There are countries covering one quarter of humanity in which abortion of the second child is required. There are countries, spanning perhaps another quarter of humanity, in which it is possible for women to be blackmailed with the offer of aid to have abortions. This has created a dramatic imbalance in the world.”

He added that “perhaps a hundred million children have been aborted due to them being female. In countries where only one child is allowed, this phenomenon is growing strongly.”

Carlo Casini, president of the Movement for Life organization, said other similar initiatives were under way at a European level.

The Italian pro-life group Science & Life said the vote “casts a new light on the abortion debate which up until yesterday was too ideological.” Now, the pro-life group said, there are “reasons for a common anthropology.” It said the “mere fact that today we raise authoritative voices to say that abortion is not a right is a great step forward.”

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