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Call for pro-abortion gynaecologists in Rome hospital "unjust and discriminatory"

24 February 2017

The Il San Camillo hospital in Rome. Image: Ansa

A Rome hospital's plan to hire two specifically pro-abortion doctors has caused an outcry, reports The Local it.

The governor of Lazio (Rome's administrative region), Nicola Zingaretti, had planned for two doctors to be hired at Rome's San Camillo hospital - one of the largest in the capital - specifically to carry out abortions. He wrote on his blog that he had proposed the measure in order to ensure the hospital had enough doctors to guarantee the procedure, since in Italy doctors many refuse to carry out abortions on moral grounds.He cited official figures which put the proportion of conscientious objectors at 78 percent in Lazio, slightly above the national average of 70 percent.

Conscientious objection a "right that must be preserved"

However, on Thursday, the president of Rome's order of physicians, Giuseppe Lavra, asked the governor to repeal the "unjust and discriminatory" call for two pro-abortion gynaecologists. "To foresee a competition that is open only to non conscientious objectors is discriminatory towards those exercising a right sanctioned by bioethics and medical professional ethics," he said.

Italy's bishop's conference also criticised the move, saying that conscientious objection is a "right that must be preserved".

The Health Ministry confirmed that the right to objection was respected in Italy and that the law "did not plan" for the hiring of specific abortion doctors.

"Does not exclude doctors who object to abortion"

However, Nicola Zingaretti rejected the complaints, insisting that "conscientious objection is 100 percent guaranteed" for the two hospital positions. Zingaretti said the job description did not exclude doctors who objected to abortion, but "it does lay out clearly what role will be performed upon hiring and that will effectively be part of the contract."

Conscientious objection for medical professionals is a right that is hotly debated in many countries. SPUC is currently asking supporters to respond to a consultation by the General Pharmaceutical Council, which could remove the right for pharmacists to refuse to administer abortifacient drugs.

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