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Minerva Medicolegale 2020 March;140(1):8-15

DOI: 10.23736/S0026-4849.20.01788-5

Copyright © 2020 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Law n. 194, 18th May 1978, turns forty: a positive record overall, despite lingering hurdles

Gianluca MONTANARI VERGALLO , Raffaella RINALDI, Alessandro DEL RIO, Giuseppe RALLO, Antonella PASTORINI, Brenno MAZZARIOL, Costantino CIALLELLA, Natale M. DI LUCA

Department of Anatomical, Histological, Medico-Legal and Orthopaedic Sciences, Sapienza University, Rome, Italy



The authors take stock of a 2018 report to the Italian Parliament by the Italian Ministry of Health, highlighting how hard it still is for Italy to guarantee access to abortion services 40 years after the enactment of law n. 194/78. Despite constantly declining abortion rates, use of emergency contraception methods is on the rise, which leads to endometrial alterations and prevent the fertilized embryo from lodging into the maternal womb, resulting in the former’s destruction. The paper aims to explore the issue of conscientious objection to abortion, seeking to strike a balance between the doctors’ right to object and the women’ s right to pregnancy termination. The authors set forth a reasonably feasible solution: amending the current legislation so that objecting physicians would be compelled to abide by new rules, such as the so-called duty to refer, i.e. an obligation for such doctors to refer a patient seeking abortion services to another specialist or medical facilities willing to provide it; various nations already have similar provisions and mandates in place.


KEY WORDS: Abortion, induced; Contraception, postcoital; Women’s rights

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