Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Italy: Women to be paid 'a fee' for rejecting abortion

Milan, 1 June (AKI) - The northern Italian region of Lombardy is set to pay pregnant women in "economic difficulty" a fee of 4,500 euros if they reject abortion, conservative regional president Roberto Formigoni has said. Under his proposal, beneficiaries would receive 18 monthly instalments of 250 euros.

"No woman in Lombardy will have an abortion because of economic difficulty," Formigoni (photo) said on Monday.

Abortion has been legal in overwhelmingly Catholic Italy since 1978 in the first 90 days of pregnancy and until the 24th week if the life of the mother is at risk or the foetus is malformed.

An Italian constitutional court in 1988 ruled a woman can have an abortion without her husband's permission.

Formigoni, an ally of Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, announced the creation of the 5 million-euro Nasko Fund in March to be financed by the regional government to pay expectant mothers to keep their children.

"We want to support and the birth rate, by removing the greatest obstacles, beginning with the economic obstacle, which makes it more difficult to make a choice to support life," Formigoni said.

Formigoni has a record of fighting abortion. In 1989 when he was a European MP, Formigoni denounced a therapeutic abortion involving a five-month female foetus diagnosed as having a genetic anomaly.

In 2008 Formigoni's Lombardy region moved to limit abortions in cases where the foetus is more than 22 weeks and three days.

When Italian hospitals first started dispensing the RU486 pill earlier this year, Formigoni said it was in conflict with Italy's abortion law.
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