Chapter

Debates and Controversies on Abortion in Italy

Marina Calloni

in Abortion Politics, Women's Movements, and the Democratic State

Published in print November 2001 | ISBN: 9780199242665
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191600258 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199242666.003.0009

Series: Gender and Politics

 Debates and Controversies on Abortion in Italy

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The debate over legalization of abortion dominated politics in Italy in the 1970s, part of a broader challenge to Catholic domination over families and women. Subsequent debates have revolved around efforts to overturn legal abortion. Unlike other countries, the abortion issue split the radical feminists from the rest of the movement that had to turn to allies in the parties and unions of the left to promote women's rights to abortion. The early debates occurred before Italy had established women's policy agencies. Only in the 1990s, when the issue of in vitro fertilization stimulated pro‐life deputies to protect the foetus through restrictive laws, could the movement count on even marginal state support for keeping the 1978 compromise law on the books.

Keywords: abortion law; alliances; Catholic church; in vitro fertilization; Italy; pro‐life deputies; radical feminism; women's movement; women's policy agencies

Chapter.  10123 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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