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The female choices hunged by a thread through America and Italy

How pregnancy laws and rights can expand globally and touch diffently local situations

The female choices hunged by a thread through America and Italy How pregnancy laws and rights can expand globally and touch diffently local situations

The American dream refers to significant economic prosperity and better standards of living, within which all those civil rights that in Italy we have always seen as distant and associated with the United States of America, leading us to look at the U.S. as a point of arrival or as a country capable of significantly changing our cultural and political scenario. Such a consideration is more alive today than ever before and it is frightening: the current situation in the U.S. regarding the abolition of the right to abortion and the history of the Western world focused on the American model as a winner can also go on to influence the fate of Italy regarding the issue on pregnancies and the right to abortion.

Just the history of the decriminalization of abortion is a limpid example of how quickly the U.S. influences European decisions. In 1967, Colorado became the first U.S. state to decriminalize abortion in cases of rape, incest or if the pregnancy could lead to health repercussions. In 1970, Hawaii became the first U.S. state to legalize abortion at the woman's request, and at the federal level in 1973 there was the landmark Roe vs. Wade ruling in which the courts were asked that the federal Constitution recognize a right to abortion even in the absence of health problems of the woman, the fetus and any other circumstances other than the woman's free choice. The decision was made by a majority of 7 justices in favor and 2 against

This ruling of the Court conditioned the laws of 46 states and the Western scenario; we know well that only 2 years later in Italy, in 1975, Law 194 was born, which allows the woman, in the cases provided for by law, to resort to the voluntary interruption of pregnancy in a public facility (hospital or polyclinic affiliated with the region to which she belongs), during the first 90 days of gestation; between the fourth and fifth month, it is possible to resort to interruption only for therapeutic reasons. 

The criticalities of Law 194 are known to all people with uteruses who have been faced with the concrete expression of a clause that makes abortion in Italy extremely complex. From Article 9 of Law 194 we read, "Health personnel and those performing auxiliary activities are not required to take part in the procedures referred to in Articles 5 and 7 and in interventions for the termination of pregnancy when they raise a conscientious objection, with prior declaration." This makes the 194 difficult to apply evenly across the national fabric, allowing individual doctors the option of not performing a health practice necessary for the health and well-being of people with a uterus. Objection rates in Italy exceed 70 percent, and there are regions where it is as high as 90 percent, making it extremely difficult to enforce a fundamental right that must always be fought for!

In Italy several political networks and associations are fighting for the concretization of a real right to abortion through the necessary repeal of Article 9. Obiezione RespintaNon Una di Meno and Libera di Abortire are examples. For years now through demonstrations, popularizing content on social media and lectures in schools they have been working to present the real Italian scenario, which unfortunately is not too far from the U.S. scenario in its current state, since as in the U.S. people will now have to travel to other federal states in order to have an abortion, in Italy too it is necessary to go back to private clinics or change regions or provinces.

It is on July 14 the sad news that in Cosenza the only gynecologist to practice IVG (Voluntary Interruption of Pregnancy) Francesco Cariati, on duty at Annunziata Hospital, has declared his being an objector. He thus commented on his decision in an interview with Repubblica:

"The minimum requirements for carrying out this service have failed, and above all there has been a lack of respect for the dignity of the patients, but also for my own, as a professional left to my own devices. Therefore, exhausted, I made the difficult decision to resign as a non-objecting gynecologist. I continue to practice my profession, no longer dealing with the IVG service. I feel so sorry for women who are deprived of this right, but I had no choice."

In the United States, the federal government has said it will protect people who choose to travel for abortions; President Joe Biden said in a teleconference:

"If extremist governors try to prevent a woman from traveling from her state that prohibits her from seeking the medical care she needs to a state that provides it, the federal government will act to protect her fundamental right through the Attorney General's office," Biden said. "Second, if states try to prevent a woman from obtaining a drug that the FDA has already approved and that has been available for more than 20 years, my administration will act to protect that woman's right to that drug."

While these are words of extreme value, the gap that will be created between people with uteruses as a function of social class remains tangible: people who have the financial means will clearly be facilitated on an individual level, while those without the privilege, who generally belong to marginalized communities - racialized women, trans people, and sex workers - will be most affected.

The recent annulment of Roe vs. Wade by the U.S. Supreme Court is thus clearly causing considerable alarm for the fate of the entire world, given the weight of the U.S. in world politics, and it is certainly a time when more and more support is needed for the realities that have been working for years for an inalienable right that in no way should be challenged.

In Italy we are facing a socio-political scenario where again several rights that are in themselves fragile and see limited enforcement could be undermined, so already we should support the sisters in the United States who are protesting incessantly and being arrested because they are demanding the right to be able to choose what to do with their bodies.

The basic Motto "My Body My Choice" is occupying all the squares, and it is good not to let our guard down and fill every space in Italy as well so that we do not find ourselves taking steps backward!