The Brothers of Italy has further impeded access to abortion in the Marche region – a policy it could replicate nationally if it wins power

When Giulia, 20, discovered she was pregnant she immediately decided that she wasn’t ready to have a baby. Supported by her boyfriend and family, she sought medical advice in her home town in Italy’s central Marche region on how to obtain an abortion. She faced obstacles at every turn, from telephones not being answered and surgeries being closed, to one doctor who tried to persuade her to change her mind, reports the Guardian.

Abortion in Italy was legalised via a referendum in 1978, overturning an outright ban enforced by the fascist dictator Benito Mussolini who deemed it a crime against the Italian race, but the high number of gynaecologists who refuse to terminate pregnancies for moral reasons – 64.6%, according to 2020 data – has meant women still encounter huge difficulties in accessing safe procedures.

Conservative leadership in several Italian regions has in recent years impeded abortion access even further, especially in Marche, a former leftwing bastion, which since September 2020 has been ruled by Brothers of Italy – a party with neofascist roots that after national elections in September could be the largest party in a rightwing governing coalition.

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