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Probe demanded after woman aborts in hospital bathroom

Patient allegedly left during abortion due to doctor opposition

11 March, 14:24
Probe demanded after woman aborts in hospital bathroom (ANSA) - Rome, March 11 - An Italian human rights group called Tuesday for an inquiry after a woman said she was abandoned by doctors and aborted in a Roman hospital bathroom.

Aurelio Mancuso, president of Equality Italy, said the national health ministry as well as authorities at the Sandro Pertini di Roma hospital should investigate the 2010 case. "Woman are often the victims of ideological laws...and thus, are being discriminated against," said Mancuso.

The case involves a woman called Valentina who, with her husband Fabrizio, reportedly wanted children but had had miscarriages in the past.

When they became pregnant again, they were concerned about their high risk of passing on a genetic abnormality, but were refused access to tests to determine the health of the fetus and decided on an abortion.

However, while Italy's abortion law says that hospitals must make the procedure available, not every doctor must perform abortions and concerns are growing that more gynecologists are opting out.

In Valentina's case, doctors had reportedly begun an abortion procedure but after a hospital shift change and a new team of doctors opposed to abortion arrived, she was abandoned and suffered with only her husband's help for 15 hours before she aborted in the bathroom, the Luca Coscioni Association said during a news conference Monday.

The Luca Coscioni group advocates freedom for scientific research, particularly in the health field, as well as human rights for the ill and disabled.

The problem of abortion objectors has been raised at the European Court of Human Rights, which last year struck down parts of Italy's restrictive reproductive law.

The court, based in Strasbourg, said parts of Law 40 that forbid families from screening embryos for ailments were too restrictive and violated the rights of an Italian couple that wanted to screen for cystic fibrosis.