Italy Resolution Condemns Abortion for Population ControlELIZABETH LEV
Italy has long been an acknowledged world leader in fashion and food, but rarely in its tri-millennial history has it stood as a beacon of political acumen.
ROME -- Italy has long been an acknowledged world leader in fashion and food, but rarely in its tri-millennial history has it stood as a beacon of political acumen. Yet last week, the same soil that gave us Machiavelli seemed to take the lead in showing the world how to seriously commit to reducing abortions.
It was Rocco Buttiglione, a lifelong friend of the late Pope John Paul II, who presented the motion, which "committed the Government to promote, by seeking the necessary consensus, a United Nations resolution condemning the use of abortion as a means of population control and asserting the right of every woman not to be forced to have abortions, and promoting policies that help to remove the economic causes and social consequences of abortion."
The motion passed with only a few abstentions by the center-left parties that had proposed their own versions of the resolution, repeating the condemnation of abortion for demographic control but emphasizing the importance of contraception. Parliament rejected these formulations in favor of Professor Buttiglione's more straightforward statement.
Italy rejoiced in its triumph of dialogue and bipartisan cooperation. Buttilgione pointed out that the "pro-life" and "pro-choice" battle lines have become so entrenched that the two sides seem like the Hatfields and McCoys of social issues -- and offered his motion as a template for an armistice where the opposing views could join forces "to fight together against those in the world who are both against life and against choice."
Abortion as a form of demographic control takes many forms in the world. In countries promoting a one-child policy such as China, an estimated 100 million children have been aborted just for being female. In others, women are promised aid in return for aborting children.
Of course, the land of Michelangelo's David will have some pretty big Goliaths to face in the UN. And in the U.S., a recent statement by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in an interview for the New York Times magazine seemed to many of us to reveal elite sympathy for abortion as a means to cull the population. Discussing the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion, Ginsburg said, "Frankly I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don't want to have too many of. So that Roe was going to be then set up for Medicaid funding for abortion." Justice Ginsburg made no effort to backtrack or clarify the remark, which seemed to tacitly countenance population control through abortion.
As Politics Daily's Carl Cannon wrote yesterday, Ginsburg could have taken these words from the lips of Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, and a strong proponent of the eugenics movement, who wrote, "More children from the fit, less from the unfit -- that is the chief aim of birth control," in her Birth Control Review in May 1919.
Italy has long since ceased to be the home of the stereotypically large raucous family living in joyful poverty; it now has one of the lowest birth rates in world, with a natural population growth of less than 0.1% a year. Yet in this land of contradictions, the Italians continue to love life and children. Would that this recent effort at 'common ground' on reducing the number of abortions might some day rival Prada as Italy's greatest export.
Elizabeth Lev. "Italy Resolution Condemns Abortion for Population Control." Politics Daily (July 23, 2009).
Reprinted with permission of the author, Elizabeth Lev.
Elizabeth Lev is an art historian and writer based in Rome, where all of her three children were born. She teaches at Duquesne University's campus there and is the author of a forthcoming biography of Caterina Riario Sforza, an unsung heroine of the Italian Renaissance. She also writes for Inside the Vatican and is a regular contributor to Zenit news agency. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2009 Elizabeth Lev
Not all articles published on CERC are the objects of official Church teaching, but these are supplied to provide supplementary information.