Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Independent: Anti-abortion campaigner sparks violent clashes in Italy

[...] Mr Ferrara's crusade was prompted by Romano Prodi's government's success in persuading the United Nations General Assembly to vote in December for a global moratorium on capital punishment. The following day Mr Ferrara trumped it by proposing a global moratorium on abortion as well.

At the time it seemed another piece of capricious mischief by one of Italy's most accomplished self-publicists. But now it appears he was in earnest. "Abortion is the greatest scandal of our times," he says. "It has become a habit with no cultural or moral implications. This is unacceptable."

In his stump speeches he claims that 50 million foetuses are aborted per year, and that one billion have been aborted in the past 30 years. "This scar on our society has made us all sadder," he claims, "whether we are aware of it or not."

He launched his Pro-Life List with candidates standing for election across the country, though only for the Camera dei Deputati, Italy's lower house.

Mr Ferrara denies he is campaigning for the repeal of Italy's abortion law, Article 194, but rather for it to be applied in the way it was intended. "Article 194 was enacted to fight backstreet abortion," he says. "Its title is 'the law for the protection of maternity'; it also refers to the duty to protect life from its beginning.

"It was not a law passed in favour of abortion, and once backstreet abortion was eliminated its effect should have been to put a brake on abortion. But instead abortion was brought into the open and became a symbol of freedom, a typical example of ideological idiocy from the Sixties."

Rather than calling for the abolition of the law, he says he is appealing for more resources to help women have children. "Thirty to 40 per cent of women who have abortions do so because it's difficult to raise children in this society," he says. "This is a society opposed to childbirth, where people don't have children any more, there is no reverence towards them, not enough resources for them ... These attitudes are typical of a decadent society, a society in decline." Read more

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