Minister, CEI agst abortion doc move

Rome hospital aims to combat rampant conscientious objection

(ANSA) - Brussels, February 22 - Rome's San Camillo Hospital's call for two abortion doctors to skirt widespread conscientious objection against terminating pregnancies is "not envisaged" by the law, Health Minister Beatrice Lorenzin said Wednesday, stressing that conscientious objection is respected in Italy.
    However, she said that but hospitals can ask regional governments to complete "specific individual services".
    Earlier the Italian Bishops Conference (CEI) slammed the planned hiring of two gynecologists at the San Camillo on a contract that reportedly envisages their dismissal if they refuse to perform abortions because it is against their consciences. The CEI said conscientious objection was "a right" that must be preserved. Women regularly complain about the difficulty of obtaining an abortion in Italian hospitals, where conscientious-objector doctors are a majority. According to the latest figures, seven out of 10 Italian doctors are conscientious objectors to abortion.
    Lazio Governor Nicola Zingaretti said the hirings were a way of making sure Italy's abortion law is upheld.
    "We have to face up to the issue of the real implementation of Law 194, also by trying innovative forms of a law that would otherwise not be upheld", he told reporters.
    But, he said, the call for the two posts at San Camillo was a limited one and the overall right to conscientious objection was "100% guaranteed".
    The head of the Italian Free Association of Gynecologists for the Application of Law 194 (LAIGA), Silvana Agatone, said abortion "must be present in all hospital bodies, according to article 9 of Law 194. But this is not so: more than 40% of hospital bodies are illegal in Italy".
    The president emeritus of the Constitutional Court, Cesare Mirabelli, told Italian TV that "a competition that excludes those who are objectors is of dubious Constitutionality" and probably discriminatory.
    photo: a Bologna demo in support of Italy's abortion law

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