The Vatican has denounced the sale of RU 486 (also known as mifepristone) and has suggested that Catholic chemists refuse to sell the pill as “conscientious objectors”. Although abortion has been legal for over 20 years in Italy, Catholic doctors are permitted by the Vatican to refuse to perform abortions.
RU-486 is a proven safe method for terminating unwanted pregnancies in early stages. Moreover, the availability of the drug, advances the rights of millions of women over their bodies and provides a safer environment to undergo the procedure. Increased acts of violence against abortion doctors, providers, staff, and clinic patients at clinics are evident across the globe. The availability of RU 486 allows greater privacy for women seeking abortions and counters bombings and arson attacks by anti-abortion extremists.
Only a few months ago during the United Nations Beijing Plus 5 meetings, the Vatican exercised its authority as the only non-state and religious entity with permanent voting status within the UN during negotiations over a follow-up document to the Beijing Platform for action. The Vatican joined by Libya, Algeria, Iran, Sudan, Nicaragua, and Pakistan fought against the inclusion and greater protections for a woman’s right over her body, safe access to abortion, reproductive health treatment, and respect for an individual’s sexual orientation.