The Case Of Verona: The Self-Proclaimed “Pro-Life City”

In Italy, abortion still seems to be a half-right

For someone it is a great victory, whereas for many others it is a return to the Middle Ages. Fact is, the city council of Verona has recently approved a motion to declare itself “a city in favour of life”, including the release of funds for initiatives and associations against abortion in the municipal budget adjustment. With twenty-one votes in favour and six against, the green light to the document drafted by the Northern League came from the center-right majority of the council, with the signature of the mayor Federico Sboarina. Instead, the proposal for the automatic burial of aborted foetuses was rejected.

Feminists against

Activists of the feminist movement “Non una di meno” were present too, dressed like the characters of The Handmaid’s Tale, the TV series inspired by Margaret Hatwood’s famous novel. They immediately expressed their strong dissent through a Facebook post, denouncing the public funding for “catholic and profit associations”, exactly forty years after the promulgation of the abortion law. They also complained about being expelled form the city hall while protesting and they reported that even the Democratic Party’s local leader Carla Padovani voted in favour.

You too, center-right?

This last detail caused a great deal of outrage among the members of the center-left opposition, including the national leader of the Democratic Party, Maurizio Martina, according to whom the right to abortion is out of question. The first reaction came from Democratic Party’s Alessia Rotta, who posted on Facebook: “Tonight, Verona suffered an unacceptable smack. The vote by which the city council declared Verona “a pro-life city” threw us back to years when women died of pregnancy interruptions due to the proliferation of illegal abortions”.

An endless electoral campaign

Along the same lines, Mattia Fantinati, a member of the Five Star Movement, commented: “In our city, not only the majority has a confessional policy, but also the Democratic Party, whose leader voted in favor of the motion, seems to have remained centuries behind. If we really want to undertake serious maternity support policies, we should finance public structures, and not private associations of dubious orientation. Exploiting ethical issues for reasons of electoral campaigning is a serious mistake”.

Putin as a model

On the contrary, for the Northern League this is a positive initiative, since for the promotor of the motion, Alberto Zelger, abortion is an “abominable crime”. “My example – he continued – is Putin’s Russia, where abortions dropped from four million to two million a year thanks to maternity grants and benefits”. Then, he took the opportunity to insult homosexuals, by saying that “gays are a disaster for the reproduction and for the conservation of the species. Same sex intercourse is bad for health, as it causes diseases of all kinds, it is a personality disorder”.

Hetical issues are relevant

In the light of the above, it is very difficult to consider such a motion a step forward for the preservation of life. Albeit the basic concept of supporting women in need of help could be endorsed with no doubt, the ethical views of the politicians who promote similar initiatives cannot fade into the background. Especially since the current law is already hindered by the high percentage of conscientious objectors throughout the country, a basic women right actually seems to be just a half-right.