Milan

70% of Italy's gynecologists refuse to perform abortions

Conscientious objectors top 80% in many southern regions

70% of Italy's gynecologists refuse to perform abortions

(ANSA) - Milan, October 9 - Abortions may be falling in Italy, but much of that trend may be influenced by the high number of medical personnel who refuse to perform them, a study suggested Tuesday. The number of conscientious objectors among Italy's gynecologists rose from 58.7% in 2005 to 70.7% in 2009 and remained nearly stable at 69.3% in 2010, according to a parliamentary report Health Minister Renato Balduzzi submitted on Tuesday. Conscientious objectors among Italy's anesthesiologists rose from 45.7% in 2005 to 50.8% in 2010. Non-medical personnel refusing to facilitate abortions rose from 38.6% to 44.7% in the same period. The trend is particularly acute in southern Italy, where in some regions the percentage of gynecologists who will not perform abortions is over 80%. For anesthesiologists, the highest percentage of abstainers are in Sicily, at 78.1%. Regions least resistant to abortion appear to be Tuscany and the northwestern region of Valle D'Aosta, where 27.7% and 26.3% of anesthesiologists avoid abortion procedures, respectively.

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