Women could be paid not to have abortions in northern Italy | Italy

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Pregnant women in northern Italy’s Piedmont region could pay 4,000 euros (£3,300) not to have an abortion, at the suggestion of a far-right councilor, prompting condemnation from opposition parties and women’s groups.

Maurizio Marrone, regional councilor for social policy, envisages that the region donate 400,000 euros to anti-abortion associations, which in turn would provide 100 women with the money to persuade them not to have an abortion.

“100 more children will be born in Piedmont,” said Marrone, a politician for the far-right Brothers of Italy. “Children who otherwise would not have been born because of their mothers’ economic difficulties.”

The program was immediately condemned, with another Piedmont councilwoman, Sarah Disabato, calling it an “essential gift to anti-abortion propaganda”. “It’s disguised as helping women who choose to have an abortion because of economic problems,” she said.

Non Una di Meno, a feminist coalition, said it was disgusted but not surprised by the initiative, accusing Marrone of using women and their bodies for “bad electoral purposes and political positioning”.

“Motherhood is a choice,” the alliance wrote on Facebook. “A false promise of economic support will not convince us, on the contrary, it is mockery and manipulative of those in economic distress.”

Abortion was legalized in Italy in 1978 by a law called Law 194. However, women face difficulties in accessing safe abortions, as many gynecologists refuse to terminate pregnancies for moral reasons. Seven out of ten doctors in Italy are “moral refusers”. In addition, anti-abortion activists are infiltrating hospitals to try to prevent abortions. Marrone, who said he would have liked to have set aside more money for the program, last year allowed anti-abortion groups to set up counters in local health authority ASl clinics and in hospitals in Piedmont.

“It wasn’t enough for Marrone to allow this, but now he’s announcing 400,000 euros to associations that define abortion as the main cause of femicide,” said Marco Grimaldi, politician of the left-wing Free and Equal party.

A right-wing coalition of Brothers of Italy, the Liga and Forza Italia secured leadership in Piedmont in 2019. The parties are running together in the parliamentary elections, the next vote will take place in spring 2023. The brothers of Italy vote as the country’s biggest party.

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