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Author Topic: Abortion becoming election issue
Babbler # 195

posted 02 December 2005 06:15 PM      Profile for robbie_dee     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
In Italy, that is...

ROME - Condemnation from an increasingly influential Catholic Church is turning abortion into an election issue in Italy nearly three decades after it was legalized.

Both the right-wing ruling coalition and the left-wing opposition are scrambling ahead of parliamentary polls expected by April to come up with policies to encourage women to have their babies.

While no mainstream parties advocate making abortion illegal again, both sides have recently supported giving cash benefits to women during pregnancy or after birth widely seen as a way of encouraging women not to have abortions.

While I tend to disagree with the Catholic church on pretty much all issues of reproductive rights, I do have to say I actually like the idea of expanding pregnancy and maternity benefits for women. Even if the motivation is to discourage those women from having abortions.

As long as abortion remains safe, legal and available, society ought to recognize that the choice to have children is also valid and that low-income women and families particularly deserve more support from the state to make that choice affordable. That's a "culture of life" I can get behind.

The rest of the article raises some more disturbing developments, though.

Last month, Health Minister Francesco Storace won praise from the Vatican newspaper and criticism from the opposition when he proposed sending Catholic volunteers to state-funded advice centers to discourage women from having abortions.

"Abortion has been a non-issue for more than 30 years, and now it's become hot," said James Walston, a professor of politics at the American University of Rome.
The Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano recently condemned abortion as going "against woman's dignity, against a person's rights."

Cardinal Camillo Ruini, head of the Italian bishops conference, denounced the RU-486 abortion pill that at least one region in Italy allows on an experimental basis as "yet another step forward on the path that tends not to show the real nature of abortion, which is and remains the suppression of innocent human life."

Luigi Laratta, president of the Italian Association of Demographic Education, a family planning organization, said the Catholic church became bolder after a referendum last April to ease assisted fertility restrictions failed to get enough Italians out to vote to make it binding. The Italian bishops had urged citizens to boycott it.

"It happened after Italians demonstrated that there might be a different political atmosphere," he said.

The elections will pit the center-right bloc led by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi against a center-left bloc, including the Margherita Party, likely to be led by Romano Prodi.

Analysts say the Vatican's support is increasingly important for winning at the polls.

"They control about 3 percent of the vote, as in, 'Who do I vote for, Father?'" Walston said.

[ 02 December 2005: Message edited by: robbie_dee ]

[ 02 December 2005: Message edited by: robbie_dee ]

From: Iron City | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged

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