In Italy, the rate of voluntary termination of pregnancy (IVG) is among the lowest in the world. This is confirmed by the data from the latest Report to Parliament on the implementation of law 194/78 on IVGs, which highlight how abortions in our country continue to decline. In 2020 there were just over 66 thousand IVGs, 9.3% less than in 2019. The decline was recorded in all geographical areas and age groups, especially in the younger ones and among the foreigners. However, the issue of abortion remains at the center of the political debate and beyond, and today comes the position of the influencer Chiara Ferragni, who siding against FDI speaks of ‘risks of anti-abortion policy’. A ‘false’ statement is the party’s reply, while the Dems applaud Ferragni.
However, the photograph taken from the last Report to Parliament highlights how the IVGs are clearly decreasing among Italian women. The Report collects data from the Surveillance System, from which it emerges that, in total, 66,413 IVGs were notified in 2020 with an abortion rate of 5.4 per thousand women between 15 and 49 years (down 6 , 7% on 2019), one of the lowest figures on an international level.
At the same time, the percentage of medical and non-medical personnel exercising the right to conscientious objection to the termination of pregnancy has slightly decreased. However, the values remain high: the objection concerns 2 out of 3 gynecologists and almost 1 out of 2 anesthetists, with peaks exceeding 80% in some regions. According to the Report, in 2020, the percentage of objecting gynecologists nationwide dropped to 64.6% compared to 67% the previous year. There are, however, large regional differences.
In the autonomous province of Bolzano, 84.5% of gynecologists exercise the right to objection, 83.8% in Abruzzo, 82.8% in Molise, 81.6% in Sicily, and in Basilicata l ’81, 4%. The lowest objection rates among gynecologists are found in Valle d’Aosta (25%), in the PA of Trento (35.9%) and in Emilia Romagna (45%).
The objection rate among anesthetists is lower: in 2020 it is 44.6%, a slight increase compared to 43.5% in 2019.
Also in this case there are large regional differences: ranging from 20% in the Aosta Valley to 75.9% in Calabria. Among non-medical personnel, the objection stands at 36.2% (it was 37.6% in 2019) with a range from 13% in Val d’Aosta to 90% in Molise.
“The number of conscientious objectors remains high for all health professional categories, in particular for gynecologists (64.6%). The organization of IVG services must be such that there is a sufficient number of professionals to guarantee women the possibility of accessing the voluntary interruption of pregnancy, as indicated in article 9 of law no. 194/78. This should be guaranteed by the Regions, to protect the free exercise of sexual and reproductive rights of women and access to IVG services and minimize the impact of conscientious objection in exercising this right “, wrote Health Minister Roberto Speranza in the conclusions to the Report.