By Dave Andrusko
For the last post of the day, I’d like to briefly comment on a story that appeared a couple of days ago in the New York Times.
Everything you need to know about Gaia Pianigiani’s slant is encapsulated in the headline: “On Paper, Italy Allows Abortions, but Few Doctors Will Perform Them.”
Clearly the Times sees it as a kind of public service obligation to periodically lament that abortions are not as readily available as the Times would want, even though abortions are legal almost everywhere in Europe.
So you read carefully to watch the politics of the article. The first two women who couldn’t get their abortions quick enough [faced “hurtles”] were carrying babies with “extremely serious genetic problems” and “a serious genetic disease,” respectively. The point, obviously, is to stack the deck, to use the toughest of the tough cases as a rallying cry against those “hurtles.”
Though abortion is legal, “that does not mean that finding a doctor to perform one is easy,” writes Pianigiani.
Seventy percent of gynecologists — up to 83 percent in some conservative southern regions — are conscientious objectors to the law, and do not perform abortions for religious or personal reasons in a country that remains, culturally at least, overwhelmingly Catholic.
Of course the villain is the Catholic Church, shots against which run throughout the story. To take just one example, “The Roman Catholic Church’s opposition to the practice has created a stronger stigma here than in many other countries, they [“experts”] say.”
Later on, for all the lamentation about shortages, we learn two things. First, there is something called the “Italian Association for Demographic Education, or A.I.E.D., which performs outpatient services for a number of women’s health,” aka abortions.
Second, that “some women face hurdles trying to gain access to abortion facilities in their regions.” Not massive amounts, not a de facto ban, just “some women.”
Unborn children with severe genetic anomalies, a villainous Catholic Church, and parts of the country with lots of “conscientious objectors.”
How’s that for a fair-minded, even-handed treatment of abortion in Italy?