In Italy, even after 43 years from the adoption of Law 194 of 1978, access to abortion care is complicated due to arbitrary and painful hurdles.
According to the law, women need to meet a doctor who certifies their abortion request.
However, about 70% of the doctors in Italy deny abortion care based on their personal beliefs or convenience (art. 9 of the abortion law).
Moreover, after having obtained the certificate from a doctor, women need to “postpone the decision for seven days” (art. 5 of the abortion law), thus being forced to endure a medically unnecessary waiting period.
On top of all of this, there is no official information about how and where to access abortion (no institutional website, no specific sections on hospital websites, no national help-line).
According to the law, all hospitals and authorised clinics must provide abortion care (art. 9 of the abortion law), but as per the last report from the Health Ministry published in 2018, in practice only about the 65% of them do offer care.
Women in Italy continue to face an unacceptable array of obstacles to abortion care and some of these stem from lack of information.
So, where to find information to understand how and where to access abortion care in Italy?
Laiga, Free Italian Association of Gynaecologists for the implementation of Law 194, an association born in 2008 to gather all abortion providers and spread information on the application of the law and the right to abortion, just published a national map listing all hospitals and clinics providing this health care service, including telephone numbers and addresses.
“It has been a very big and challenging project for the association, which took a long time and a lot of energy. During the pandemic all the information we collected in the previous years were changing, many hospital sectors closed either temporarily or permanently. Finally, as a gift to everyone who wants their right to abortion guaranteed, for the 43rd anniversary of the Italian abortion law, Laiga made it!”, said Silvana Agatone, Laiga President.
Moreover, Laiga's website also clearly explaines how abortion care can be accessed in Italy: the law and the details around access, a tool to calculate the gestational age, which documents are needed, the different abortion procedures, and finally information on contraceptive care.
Through the website and this map, Laiga wants to provide what is needed to actually access care, saving precious time and avoiding delays that might harm women.
By Giorgia Alazraki, Laiga