Abortion pill to be made available in Italy
RU486 abortion pill to be made available in Italy next month despite Vatican's objections
The RU486 abortion pill is to be made available in Italy next month despite objections from the Vatican and the ruling centre Right, which described it as "legal back door abortion".
The pill, which blocks the action of hormones needed to keep a fertilized egg implanted in the uterus, was censured by the Vatican in a basic document last week on bio-ethics which also condemned artificial fertilization, human cloning, "designer babies" and embryonic stem-cell research.
Today Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, the Holy See's health minister, said "The Catholic Church understands the personal drama of a young woman who is pregnant against her will, but condemns abortion, in whatever form it is practised, because an innocent being is killed. An embryo is a human being, with all the rights of a human being".
However Corriere della Sera reported that a decision to approve the RU486 pill by the then centre Left government of Romano Prodi in February, cannot be reversed by the present centre Right government of Silvio Berlusconi, which took office in May.
Francesca Martini, deputy minister of Welfare, said "Experience abroad has shown there are wide margins of risks, ineffectiveness and complications related to chemical abortion attempts." However Guido Rasi, head of the Italian medicines agency AIFA, said it expected to give the final go ahead by the end of this week. RU486 would be available only in hospitals, and doctors who disapproved had the option of conscientious objection.
Giorgia Meloni, the Minister for Youth, said "This is not a contraceptive. This is something else. It's a drug with serious risks that interrupts a pregnancy already under way. Every new tool to stop life is not a victory for someone. On the contrary, it is a defeat for society".
However Silvio Viale, a gynaecologist at a Turin hospital, insisted that "Worries about the dangers are baseless: studies have proved it is safe. Patients have to return to the clinic two days after taking the first pill for a second one based on prostaglandin, which aids expulsion of the foetus". Silvana Mura of the centre Left Italy of Values party said the Prodi government had taken its decision "in the interests of women. They will now have an alternative to surgery".