As Valentina Milluzzo dies, Italy reflects on its abortion laws

GIUSEPPE LAMI

Former Italian Foreign Minister Emma Bonino attends the final farewell to the founder of the Radical Party, Marco Pannella, during a public ceremony in Navona Square, Rome, Italy, 21 May 2016. Marco Pannella, the longtime firebrand leader of the Radical Party who waged a thousand civil-rights battles including landmark campaigns to legalise abortion and divorce, died on 19 May, aged 86, after a battle with cancer.

As Valentina Milluzzo dies, Italy reflects on its abortion laws


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Valentina Milluzzo, 32, died on October 16, because a doctor refused to perform a life-saving abortion, Corriere della Sera reports.

A case of miscarriage… or maybe not 

The twin fetuses she was carrying also died, following a miscarriage.

She was received in a hospital in Catania, Sicily on September 29. She was going into premature labor with twins in her 19th week of pregnancy. There were complications. On October 15 her blood pressure and temperature dropped.

An abortion would have saved her life, her family suggests. But, the doctor refused to intervene, though he is legally allowed to.

Since 1978, abortion in Italy is allowed in the first three months after conception (90 days). But, doctors can refuse to perform an abortion under any circumstances and, according to official figures, 70% do. In southern Italy, 87,6% of gynecologists do, the New York Times reports.

Women also complain that doctors fail to report on fetal abnormalities for 90 days.

Either the doctor or the family lie

The hospital denies the accusation and suggests that the woman miscarried naturally. However, Corriere della Sera cites Dr. Paolo Scollo in saying that “all the doctors in my department are objectors, and when the case may call for it, outside specialists intervene.”

The family’s lawyer tells another tale. Apparently one of the fetuses had breathing problems. The doctor responsible told the family that “as long as it’s alive, I will not intervene.”

The next day, both fetuses and the mother were dead.

Angelo Pellicano, the head of the Cannizzaro Hospital, told the Ansa news agency he rules out “that a doctor could have told the family what they say he told them.”

epa05568660 A woman wears black as protesters gather at the Krakow street during the Black March of Silence in the framework of the women strike in Krakow, Poland, 03 October 2016. Despite the rains thousands of women and men protested to express their opposition to strengthen the regulations on the abortion law. Black-clad opponents of government plans to ban abortion staged a 'Black Monday'. Thousands of women took a day off from work to express their solidarity and fight for the entitlement to legal abortion, sex education, contraception and in vitro conception. EPA/Jacek Bednarczyk POLAND OUT

A woman wears black as protesters gather at the Krakow street during the Black March of Silence in the framework of the women strike in Krakow, Poland, 03 October 2016. Despite the rains thousands of women and men protested to express their opposition to strengthen the regulations on the abortion law. Black-clad opponents of government plans to ban abortion staged a ‘Black Monday’. Thousands of women took a day off from work to express their solidarity and fight for the entitlement to legal abortion, sex education, contraception and in vitro conception. EPA/Jacek Bednarczyk POLAND OUT

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