By Hilary White
MILAN, June 2, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Women in Italy's northern region of Lombardy who are considering abortion out of financial fears, will be offered monetary assistance of up to €4500 (US $5500) per year, Roberto Formigoni, president of the regional government announced last month. The Lombardy regional government has offered pregnant women in financial difficulties €250 for 18 months after the birth of their child.
"No woman will abort in Lombardy because of economic difficulties," Formigoni said during the regional elections in March.
The Italian birth rate is at an all-time low, with 1.32 children born per woman, far from the rate of 2.1 needed to maintain a stable population. Italy ranks 206th of 223 countries in fertility rates and is expecting dramatic reductions in population over the next decades.
The compensation project, said Lomardy's family commissioner Julius Boscagli, is timely now that economic and social instability is pushing more women into abortions.
Formigoni, founder with Rocco Buttiglione of the socially conservative United Christian Democrats party, has been accused by feminists of using the abortion issue as a conservative propaganda effort. But Boscagli responded, saying, "Our measure was born of experience and the results obtained from those who work in the field for decades closely with women's problems."
"This is not demagoguery," Boscagli said. "And it is interesting to note that those who make the law 194 [Italy's abortion law] a flag of progress always forget the first two articles of the law". These state that regions must take "necessary steps to ensure that abortion is not used for limiting births" and that women receive maternity assistance after difficult births.
"What we are doing in Lombardy with the primary objective to minimize the tragedy of abortion," he said.