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Italy’s vote to involve anti-abortion actors in counselling violates women’s rights

IPPF strongly condemns Italian Senate vote yesterday to involve anti-abortion associations in abortion counselling services, family planning centres and hospitals.

IPPF strongly condemns yesterday’s vote in the Italian Senate in favour of involving anti-abortion associations in abortion counselling services, family planning centres (consultori) and hospitals. 

The recent adoption of a measure allowing anti-abortion activists to enter abortion consultation clinics in Italy is deeply troubling and represents a significant attack on women’s reproductive rights and bodily autonomy. This move undermines the fundamental right to access safe and legal abortion care. By allowing external interference in such intimate healthcare decisions, the Italian government is reinforcing stigma and harming women. The social and psychological implications of this measure create an atmosphere of intimidation and coercion for women seeking reproductive healthcare services. We must prioritise policies that safeguard fundamental rights and foster inclusivity, rather than catering to narrow agendas that undermine reproductive freedoms and social progress.

Furthermore, the allocation of EU funds to support measures restricting access to sexual and reproductive health services, including safe and legal abortion, is deeply concerning and runs counter to the principles of equality and fundamental rights enshrined in EU treaties. We strongly condemn any use of EU funds to fund initiatives that infringe upon individuals’ rights to make autonomous decisions about their bodies and health. 

This decision runs counter to the objectives of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan. In a recent statement, Veerle Nuyts, European Commission Spokesperson on economic and financial affairs already underlined that the provision concerning abortion does not belong in the Recovery and Resilience Fund. It is alarming that the Italian government is planning to misuse European funds to pay for harmful measures against women. 

France has enshrined the right to abortion in its Constitution. The European Parliament voted to include it in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and explicitly asked to stop funding anti-gender and anti-choice organisations, and for Member States and local governments to increase their spending on programmes and subsidies to healthcare and family planning services. With yesterday's vote, Italy has done the opposite, underscoring an assault to the fundamental freedoms of millions of women, who have already been drastically affected by the funding cuts and subsequent closure of many family planning centres.

We urge the Italian Government to reconsider its stance and prioritise policies that uphold the rights and dignity of all individuals, including comprehensive access to sexual and reproductive health services without discrimination or interference. We urge the EU to ensure the Italian Government cannot use EU funds to violate fundamental rights.


Photo credit: Emma Fabbri, unsplash





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