Italian Lawmakers Respond to Vatican’s Call for “Moratorium” on Abortion

By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

ROME, January 7, 2007 ( - Italian Cardinal Camillo Ruini remarked on Tuesday of last week that it would be a "very logical step" to impose a "moratorium" on abortion in response to a recent vote in the United Nations calling for a moratorium on the death penalty.

Pointing out that children can survive well before the 24th week of pregnancy, which is the limit for most abortions in Italy, Ruini suggested that Italian politicians discuss the possibility of reducing the time allowed for abortions.

"It is truly inadmissible to proceed with an abortion when the fetus is at an age to survive on its own," said Ruini, according to the Catholic News Service.

This weekend, Italian lawmakers responded with a bill to do just that. Led by Sandro Bondi, of the ruling party Forza Italia, a group of legislators from various political parties are supporting a bill that would eliminate abortions after the first trimester of pregnancy. 

Senator Paola Binetti, a member of the Democratic Party, called the motion " a great step toward justice," and stated frankly that she would support the motion in spite of the differences between the parties. "I do not support party discipline in such matters," she said.

However the government’s health minister, Livia Turco, is opposing the moratorium. According to Catholic World News, Turco told the Italian newspaper La Stampa that he was "in favor of a public debate, but the abortion law must not be modified."

Cardinal Ruini’s idea was based on a proposal by Italian journalist Giuliano Ferrara of the publication Il Foglio, who proposed the moratorium so that the issue could be discussed as the 30th anniversary of the legalization of abortion in Italy approaches, on May 22.

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