Italy Limits Reproductive Rights

The Italian Senate approved a bill yesterday restricting assisted fertilization to heterosexual couples and banning the use of donor sperm, eggs, or surrogate mothers. According to Reuters, the bill, which is now approved by both houses of Parliament, will now return to the lower house before becoming law.

The opposition’s lawmaker, Giovanna Melandri, is worried that this legislation could lead to making abortion illegal in Italy, reports Reuters. The Vatican has been pressuring the Italian Parliament to put more controls on reproductive rights. According to the LA Times, the law was passed by a wide margin due to cross-party alliance of Roman Catholic politicians and the strong endorsement of the Prime Minister whose center-right coalition authored the law. Women members of Parliament who opposed the legislation were insulted and heckled during a protest they staged a few weeks ago, reports the LA Times.

Italy is known as having some of the most cutting edge research on fertility medicine. In fact, Italy had the world’s oldest mom who gave birth with a donated egg at the age of 62 through the work of fertility doctor Severino Antinori. The Vatican’s pressure on the Italian Parliament could swiftly change Italy’s laws to being among the most restrictive.

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LA Times 12/12/03; Reuters 12/12/03

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