A botched abortion in which a healthy twin foetus was terminated instead of its sibling with Down syndrome has reignited the abortion debate in Italy and raised allegations of eugenics.
"The time has come to re-examine the abortion law" that dates back to 1978, wrote leftist Senator Paola Binetti, who is close to the Vatican, in the Corriere della Sera newspaper.
"What happened in this hospital was not a medical abortion but an abortion done for the purposes of eugenics," she said, referring to the belief that the human species can be improved through selective reproduction.
The abortion was performed on a 38-year-old woman in Milan in June, but news of its outcome has only recently become public. Doctors blamed the mistake on movement of the foetuses between the examination and the abortion.
'They wanted to kill the sick foetus and save the healthy one'
"They wanted to kill the sick foetus and save the healthy one and what didn't work properly in this business was the selection," Binetti wrote.
Pro-life campaigners also seized on the case as an example of what can go wrong under the abortion law, according to the Ansa news agency.
Health Minister Livia Turco, however, defended the existing abortion law as "very wise" and said it would not be changed. The Roman Catholic Church and the conservative right have long called for its repeal.
Friday, August 31, 2007