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Italy: Women demand investigation after discovery of foetus graves bearing mothers' names in Rome06:02

Italy: Women demand investigation after discovery of foetus graves bearing mothers' names in Rome

Italy, Rome
October 11, 2020 at 18:50 GMT +00:00 · Published

Several Italian women have urged authorities to investigate after the discovery of a cemetery where aborted foetuses were buried with crosses bearing the names of the women who had terminated their pregnancies, without their knowledge or consent.

The cemetery could be seen in footage filmed on Thursday and Friday.

A woman named Francesca recently discovered the existence of her daughter's grave in the cemetery, as she explained on Thursday.

In 2019, Francesca had a therapeutic abortion and unbeknownst to her, the foetus was buried in a cemetery in Rome with her name and surname written on a cross.

"On three separate occasions, I inquired about the foetus. No answers were given. Only last week, on my way to the Flaminio cemetery, I discovered that there was a grave in my name" Francesca revealed.

Many women all over Italy have recently found out that their foetuses had been buried, often in a Catholic rite, with more than 60,000 burials having been carried out according to Emiliano Ferri, Vice-President of the 'Defending Life with Maria' association, who he defended the decades-long practice.

"For us, it is an act of charity, an act of piety," said Ferri, who added that "Sincerely, we had no intention of imposing. In reality, we work in close cooperation with hospitals, companies and municipalities."

"We feel strongly that in this affair there has been a serious violation of women's rights, all of them felt violated in their citizenship, in their self-determination, and all of them felt violated in their freedom of worship," said the head of Italian feminist group Differenza Donna, Elisa Ercoli, that filed the complaint with prosecutors.

While foetuses aborted after three months may be buried under Italian law permission is required from the mother. The hospital where Francesca's abortion took place have denied responsibility for the burial of her foetus, saying in a statement on its website that they had provided "the mother's name only for the purposes of drafting transport and burial permits" to AMA, the company that manages Rome's cemeteries for the local government.

Although abortion was legalised in Italy in 1978, access remains limited across the country as some 70 percent of doctors refuse to perform the procedure on moral grounds, as permitted under the law.

Italy: Women demand investigation after discovery of foetus graves bearing mothers' names in Rome06:02
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Several Italian women have urged authorities to investigate after the discovery of a cemetery where aborted foetuses were buried with crosses bearing the names of the women who had terminated their pregnancies, without their knowledge or consent.

The cemetery could be seen in footage filmed on Thursday and Friday.

A woman named Francesca recently discovered the existence of her daughter's grave in the cemetery, as she explained on Thursday.

In 2019, Francesca had a therapeutic abortion and unbeknownst to her, the foetus was buried in a cemetery in Rome with her name and surname written on a cross.

"On three separate occasions, I inquired about the foetus. No answers were given. Only last week, on my way to the Flaminio cemetery, I discovered that there was a grave in my name" Francesca revealed.

Many women all over Italy have recently found out that their foetuses had been buried, often in a Catholic rite, with more than 60,000 burials having been carried out according to Emiliano Ferri, Vice-President of the 'Defending Life with Maria' association, who he defended the decades-long practice.

"For us, it is an act of charity, an act of piety," said Ferri, who added that "Sincerely, we had no intention of imposing. In reality, we work in close cooperation with hospitals, companies and municipalities."

"We feel strongly that in this affair there has been a serious violation of women's rights, all of them felt violated in their citizenship, in their self-determination, and all of them felt violated in their freedom of worship," said the head of Italian feminist group Differenza Donna, Elisa Ercoli, that filed the complaint with prosecutors.

While foetuses aborted after three months may be buried under Italian law permission is required from the mother. The hospital where Francesca's abortion took place have denied responsibility for the burial of her foetus, saying in a statement on its website that they had provided "the mother's name only for the purposes of drafting transport and burial permits" to AMA, the company that manages Rome's cemeteries for the local government.

Although abortion was legalised in Italy in 1978, access remains limited across the country as some 70 percent of doctors refuse to perform the procedure on moral grounds, as permitted under the law.