Why is it a problem when medical personnel are allowed to refuse to perform abortions because of their “sincere religious beliefs”? Well one reason – though only one – is cases like one that happened in Rome in October 2010.
Valentina Magnanti was forced to abort her dead foetus in a toilet in Rome’s Sandro Pertini hospital, abandoned by all medical staff and with only her husband to assist her. This is what can happen when medical staff are allowed to follow their “consciences” and refuse to participate in abortions.
She has a rare genetically transmitted disease, but she couldn’t get tested early in her pregnancy because of a horrible law passed by the Berlusconi government in 2004. She had to wait until the fifth month, only to find out that the fetus did indeed have the disease.
Her gynaecologist refused to help her. She finally found a gynaecologist at the Sandro Pertini hospital who would sign the necessary paperwork. After being admitted to the hospital, she was given drugs to induce the abortion and was told that she would feel no pain.
“Instead… It was hell. After fifteen hours of excruciating pain, between spasms of vomiting and moments when I passed out, with my husband always at my side, not knowing what to do, going to the doctors and nurses asking them to help me, to no avail, I gave birth in the hospital toilet. With only Fabrizio by my side.” No one came to help her. “Perhaps because during the period between being admitted to hospital and giving birth, the shifts had changed, and all the doctors on duty then were objectors.” While she was in agony, a group of anti-abortion activists came in, “carrying copies of the gospel and making threatening comments.”
That’s one reason.
Valentina was caught between two laws: one which denied her the right to assisted conception, leaving her with no option but an abortion, and another which allowed medical personnel the right to refuse to go to the aid of a suffering patient having an abortion. 70% of Italian medical personnel are “objectors”, and in the Lazio region – capital, Rome – that rises to 90%, making it very unlikely that Valentina’s experience is an isolated case.
Are 90% of Lazio’s doctors and nurses really fervent Catholics? Or for some is claiming the right to “freedom of conscience” simply the path of least resistance to a successful career? Exactly what kind of conscience allows doctors and nurses to leave a woman in agony on a bathroom floor as she loses the baby she has longed for for years?
Did you catch that? 90% of medical personnel in Rome refuse to participate in abortions.
If men got pregnant…