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What does aborting means in Italy today?

LNDFK's story highlights a broad and concerning problem

What does aborting means in Italy today? LNDFK's story highlights a broad and concerning problem

"Some women have to go out of their region to legally access abortion services. The percentage of conscientious objectors among healthcare personnel is extremely high at this particular moment in history. I began the procedure at San Paolo Hospital: the gynecologist who examined me started by asking if I had a partner and what his job was. No one asked my name. No one asked to verify my ID to ensure I wasn't a minor. He added TWO WEEKS to the actual ultrasound, verbally added another two weeks, and wrote down yet another one, urging me to consider that being this far along meant we wanted to keep it. The math didn't add up. I did some calculations and informed him there was an error, and he implied that perhaps I was confusing the partner or miscalculating because 'the machine says so,' not him. When I asked him to sign the ultrasound, he refused."

LNDFK's Testimony on Instagram

This is how the story of LNDFK, a producer and songwriter raised in Naples, begins. It continues in an Instagram carousel that becomes sadder and more disgusting with each photo, each piece added to her account of attempts at humiliation and resistance. A story of psychological violence and judgment by doctors, healthcare workers, and facilities that made abortion as difficult and traumatic as possible for her. Despite abortion being a practice protected by Law 194/78 in Italy, which establishes the procedures to follow, it is increasingly under attack from various perspectives today.

Conscientious Objectors in Italy: Numbers and Percentages

This law allows gynecologists to refuse to perform abortions, thus becoming conscientious objectors. Nothing particularly strange, except that in our country there are so many conscientious objectors that they make it very difficult to obtain an abortion. According to Chiara Lalli, a professor of the History of Medicine, and journalist and computer scientist Sonia Montegiove, who conducted an investigation titled Mai Dati, Dati aperti (sulla 194) - Perché ci servono e perché ci servono per scegliere, in 2021, there were 31 (24 hospitals and 7 counseling centers) healthcare facilities with 100% objectors, 50 with a percentage over 90%, and 80 with an objection rate over 80%. The Ministry's data on conscientious objection stopped in 2019, and do not provide a clear picture of contemporary Italy.

Abortion Must Be a Matter of Public Health

When you add the stories told by LNDFK and many other women, on social media and beyond, the picture is clear: we are facing a serious problem that the Ministry's reports do not adequately capture. The law 194, evidently, does not regulate the percentage of conscientious objectors per facility or region, and is not enough to guarantee a right that should be treated as a matter of public reproductive health, collective and for all. When Giorgia Meloni states she doesn't want to change law 194, what she might be saying is that she doesn't want to make it more effective, forcing pregnant individuals to travel from region to region, to face judgment from doctors and healthcare workers, and to fight to have what everyone rushes to call a right, but in practice has nothing of a right, at least in Italy today.