Controversy at the G7 over Meloni’s attempt to dilute a declaration on the right to abortion

The Italian region of Pula, in Borgo Egnazia – a paradise of ultra-luxury between the sea and olive groves – welcomes… G7 Summit 2024. From today, Thursday until Saturday. Leaders of the world’s major economies meet to discuss crucial issues. From the war in Ukraine to the crisis in Palestine; From artificial intelligence to climate change; Through global taxation, disability, immigration or economic security.

There are many topics, however As of 2021, the declarations of this high-level meeting also reserve a place for the right to abortion.

Last year, for example, leaders used the communique of the meeting in Japan to express their “grave concern” about the decline in women’s rights and pledged to promote “access to safe abortion and legal care after voluntary abortion.” Pregnancy.

But this year it seems that the Italian Prime Minister and summit host, Giorgia Meloni, she doesn’t want to hear about it.

Diplomatic tension

Sources close to the negotiations between the different countries warn against this Italy is trying to play down a possible G7 declaration in defense of “safe and legal” abortions.. This is a position that would have angered the other participating countries, which include the United States, Canada, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Japan.

Meloni and Macron during the reception at the 2024 G7 Summit
Meloni and Macron during the reception at the 2024 G7 Summit (Reuters)

According to the Italian newspaper Domani, the French and Canadian delegations – two countries that campaign to promote the right to abortion – are particularly disturbed by this issue. This was confirmed by sources seen by Agence France-Presse, indicating that Tension is present:

“Melonie is alone on this issue, but since she is the host country, the others have decided not to create a casus belli. Therefore, this issue will not appear in the text of the final statement.”

At the same time, a French presidential official who consulted this same agency also confirmed: “There have been discussions on issues of sexual and reproductive health or on vaccines that do not… It has received as much attention as we could hope for from the Italian presidency“.

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On the other hand, Meloni’s team denies any kind of censorship Remember, negotiations are still ongoing. This was confirmed by the Italian Foreign Minister. Antonio TajaniWho considers it “too early” to comment on this information.

“Christian Sea”

In power since October 2022. Georgia Meloni -Who likes to introduce herself as the “Christian mother”- Women’s rights advocates accuse her of trying to block access to abortion And in Italy, where the Catholic Church retains important weight.

The weight of the Catholic Church is still very prominent in Italy
The weight of the Catholic Church is still very prominent in Italy (Reuters/Yara Nardi)

Although voluntary termination of pregnancy has been permitted in that country since 1978, in practice Very limited due to the high percentage of gynecologists who invoke conscientious objection To refuse to implement it.

In April, Italy’s right- and far-right-dominated parliament approved a measure pushed by Meloni’s government Anti-abortion activists are allowed in clinics where women go She decided to terminate her pregnancy, which sparked the anger of the opposition parties.

“My vote, my choice”

The G7 debate coincides with the “My Voice, My Choice” campaign, which seeks to protect the right to freedom of expressionFree, safe and free abortion throughout the European Union.

To do this, they want to provide One million signatures To European institutions, according to those responsible for the initiative More than 20 million women in Europe do not have access to abortion.

One of the campaign coordinators in Spain Cristina ValarasShe confirms in statements to Catalunya Net on Catalunya Radio that this person shocked her when she was offered to be its spokesperson:

“We shudder when some American states ban abortion, not realizing that there are 20 million women in Europe who cannot obtain it. Or that they have to pay for it, as is the case in Austria. The right that is not obtained is free, not rights.”

Feminist activists and organizations from the 27 member states united under this slogan “My vote, my choice” (“My vote, my choice”) and propose creating a fund for To support those people who cannot have an abortion For economic reasons – because in some countries it is legal but not free – or political – because it is not allowed everywhere -.

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The right to abortion is not guaranteed in all European countries (Europe Press/Diego Radames)

In this way, women who cannot obtain a safe and legal abortion in their country can be transferred to another country where the abortion can be performed with all guarantees. They want to achieve this through a European Citizens Initiative (ECI) Which, like popular legislative initiatives in Spain, allow citizens to submit legislative proposals.

That’s why they need this million signatures for ICE to move forward. Once submitted, the Committee must respond with conclusions and measures within 6 months.

The campaign continues He has nearly a year to get the necessary signatures to move forward with ICE. They wanted to get it before the elections scheduled for June 9, so that reproductive rights would be a priority on the political agenda of the next European Parliament and Commission, but they did not get there in time.

France is a pioneer; Malta which

A few months ago, France She achieved a historic achievement: including the right to abortion in the Constitution. But other countries are still far from such a decision.

a PolandIn 2020, the Constitutional Court declared abortion illegal, except in two cases: if the mother’s life is in danger or if she has been sexually assaulted.

a Malta It is prohibited even in case of violation. It is only allowed in extreme cases where the mother’s life is in danger. And a Hungary Women who want an abortion should feel the fetal heartbeat.

Malta has one of the strictest anti-abortion laws in Europe
Malta has one of the strictest anti-abortion laws in Europe (Reuters/Darren Zammit Lobby)

There are also countries where abortion is legal but not free, e.g Austria s GermanyThis law only covers cases of termination of pregnancy for health reasons or rape, and women still undergo three days of deliberation before they can have an abortion.

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The case of Spain

In Spain, abortion is allowed for free until week 14. However, despite this, There are still many women – also in Catalonia – who face obstacles To be able to implement it in their city or community, they are forced to travel or search for a private clinic.

In fact, in 2022, Only 17% of abortions in Spain take place in public centres There are communities, none of which are registered. According to Vallaras, in most Spanish territories, abortion cannot be performed in public centres:

“I’m not talking about Castile and León, but about the entire region. One of the merits of the campaign is that it once again placed the shortcomings of the abortion issue at the center of the public agenda.”

“It is a problem of political will,” adds Vallaras, who concludes that “in Europe, economic construction and pressure groups have been taken into account more than the promotion of rights. Added to this is the attack of the far right. The risk of regression is real.”

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