By Thaddeus M. Baklinski

ROME, April 23, 2008 ( – The Italian Ministry of Health has reported that nearly 70 percent of Italian gynecologists now refuse to perform abortions on moral grounds and that the number is only increasing.

Doctors in Italy are able to use a “conscientious objection” clause, which has been strenuously defended by the Catholic Church in the predominantly Catholic country since abortion became legal in 1978, and refuse to commit abortions.

Between 2003 and 2007 the number of gynecologists claiming protection under the conscience clause for abortion rose from 58.7 percent to 69.2 percent, according to the report.

For anesthetists helping in abortions, the figure of those refusing to participate rose from 45.7 percent to 50.4 percent.

“In the south, this increase is even more pronounced and in certain areas the rate has almost doubled,” an AFP report explains. In Campania, the region around Naples, the proportion of gynecologists refusing to carry out the procedure reached 83 percent, and in Sicily 84.2 percent.

A similar situation exists in Canada where, though abortion is technically legal up to the moment of birth, such a high percentage of doctors refuse to commit abortions that abortion access is in effect restricted.

According to an article by Ted Byfield published last May by WorldNetDaily, “under Canadian Medical Association rules a doctor need neither perform an abortion nor even direct a patient to an abortion provider. Only 15 percent of Canadian hospitals provide the service, and that percentage is declining.”

Byfield’s article came in response to a demand made upon the Canadian Medical Association by Vicki Saporta, president and CEO of the Washington D.C. based National Abortion Federation, that all doctors in the country be forced to refer for abortions, whether or not they object morally or on religious grounds.

“Canada, which reputedly provides the most open legal access to abortion in the western world, doesn’t provide access enough,” said the abortion-rights group.

“Many women can’t get abortions at all, or are subjected to long delays.” The group’s solution: “Require doctors by law to perform abortions whether they like it or not.”

However, as reported earlier this year, even notorious abortionist Henry Morgentaler admitted that doctors should be allowed to opt-out of performing abortions. When asked in an interview by the National Review of Medicine, “Should doctors be allowed to conscientiously object to performing an abortion?” Morgentaler answered, “Yes. One fundamental reason is that doctors should not be obliged to do things which they don’t approve of themselves, and secondly, a more practical reason, a doctor who doesn’t believe in it is more likely not to do a good job.”

Read the related article:

Even Canada’s Father of Abortion Morgentaler Approves Allowing Docs to Opt Out

Link to Ted Byfield article:
  Force doctors to perform abortions?