FLORENCE, November 11, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The mayor of Florence has roused the fury of feminists and the far left after he announced that city hall would recognize an established section of the municipal cemetery of Trespiano dedicated to babies who have died “before birth,” including by abortion. Various representatives of Italy’s extreme-left, including the Radical Party, have denounced the move as “macabre” and an attack on the country’s liberal abortion law.

While the area of the cemetery has existed “unofficially” since 1996, the city council of Florence approved officially this month a section dedicated for the burial of “children who died before birth.” According to Deputy Mayor Stefania Saccardi, there are “more than a thousand unborn children whose burial was sought” since 1996. Saccardi cited a 1990 law that requires municipalities to provide burial services for foetuses.

“In Florence we decided to dedicate this special service, a space where you can also erect gravestones, because one who has the conviction that the fetus is a person can now have the freedom to bury it as such,” she said.

The motion was strongly supported in the city’s government, passing with 30 votes in favour, 4 against and 7 abstentions.

Maria Antonietta Farina Coscioni, a representative of the Radical Party in Florence, said, “More and more often we are faced with proposals, without logic, that would like to bring Italy into a series of illiberal counter-reforms, dragging the country into an obscurantist abyss, ignoring the will of the citizens.”

She called the decision “a sneaky” and “cruel and medieval” way by Mayor Matteo Renzi to “hinder and manipulate the individual freedoms of mothers wishing to avail themselves of the law 194.”

Law 194 was the 1978 bill that legalized abortion in Italy.

Ornella De Zordo, a city councillor for the Rifondarola area, said the decision “contrasts sharply with law 194, qualifying as a real attack on the self-determination of women.” Tommaso Grassi of the Sinistra Ecologia Libertà, (Left, Ecology and Liberty) party, called it “a symbolic act that goes to blame women who decide to terminate the pregnancy.” At the national level, Concetta Basile, National Secretary of the Italian General Confederation of Labour (CGIL) called it a “crusade of the municipality administered by Matteo Renzi.”

Lidia Ravera, Councillor for culture and youth policies of the Lazio region, in a blog post published on the Huffington Post, accused the Catholic Church of pushing the motion forward because it “insists on calling lumps of matter” a baby. Ravera called the decision “anti-scientific” and “prehistoric,” adding that the unborn child is just “a cluster of cells.”

The condemnation from the left, however, has met with sarcastic responses. Elisa Calessi wrote in Libero Quotidiano in response to a complaint by feminist journalist Maria Teragni, who had called the decision a “horror” and an “exultation of the pro-life movement.”

“If there is a horror,” wrote Calessi, “and there is, it is not in the memory of those who died, but in the way death was procured when it happens and is not named as such.”

“What’s macabre in wanting to remember a creature with two arms, two hands, one head, two eyes, two ears; a being who could live, who lacked nothing, and instead whose life is now done? What’s macabre in allowing those who have suffered the pain to have a place to remember him?”

“I was struck by the violence of Terragni. The ideological fury that always results in distorting reality and trampling on what it claims to defend: the freedom of individuals.”