Italy opposes reference to ‘safe and legal abortion’ in G7 draft communiqué


News Based on facts, either observed and verified directly by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni speaks about the results of the European Parliamentary elections at a press conference at the Fratelli d'Italia party electoral committee in Rome, Monday, June 10, 2024. (Roberto Monaldo/LaPresse via AP)

Italy has worked to torpedo language on sexual and reproductive rights included in the G7 draft communiqué, Euractiv has learned.

While G7 leaders meeting in Italy on 13-15 June will focus primarily on the situation in Ukraine, they are expected to address a wide range of issues, including social rights, artificial intelligence and health.

However, the intention to include language on the importance of preserving and ensuring effective access to safe and legal abortion and post-abortion care has was opposed by far-right Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, whose country is currently holding the G7 presidency.

Rome’s opposition came after Meloni’s far-right Fratelli d’Italia party came out on top in last weekend’s European elections, gaining 14 additional seats and nearly 30% of the vote.

“It looks like Meloni has been emboldened by the results [of the EU elections] to push an even more conservative agenda,” one G7 diplomat said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Meloni, popular with women voters, has made positive contributions to women’s rights in other areas, by supporting faster trials for victims of domestic violence and alsosupporting an increase in child benefits.

However, her party has passed measures to allow anti-abortion activists inside abortion clinics.

Ahead of Thursday’s summit, the  US, Japan, France, and Germany had led efforts to include “safe and legal abortions” in the text but were pushed back by Italy, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Last year’s Hiroshima statement called for a full commitment to achieving comprehensive sexual and reproductive health rights for all.

G7 leaders then said they would aim to “achieve comprehensive SRHR [Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights] for all, including by addressing access to safe and legal abortion and post-abortion care”.

It also committed to thwarting attempts to undermine and reverse hard-won progress in this area. 

Earlier in April, G7 foreign ministers committed to promoting sexual and reproductive health and rights, though without specifically mentioning abortion rights.

[Edited  by Zoran Radosavljevic]

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