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Italy / Regional Administrative / 8990

Catholic and anti-abortion associations v Regional authorities of Lazio

Policy area:
Public Health
Deciding Body type:
National Court/Tribunal
Deciding Body:
Lazio Regional Administrative Court
Type:
Decision
Decision date:
05/07/2016

Key facts of the case:

The complainants filed an appeal with the Lazio Region al Administrative Court aimed at invalidating the regional Decree dated 22 May 2014 “Network for Women’s, Couples’, and Children’s Health: redefinition and re-organisation of functions and activities of regional family counselling services”. Reimbursement fee for home birth, supplement to Decree of the President Acting as Specially Appointed Commissioner No. U0029 of 1 April 2011. Family counselling services were established by Law No. 405 of 29 July 1975 “Establishment of family counselling services”. The aforementioned decree was supposed to have an impact on the procedures aimed at attending and supporting those women who decide to undergo an abortion procedure, which is regulated by Law No. 194 of 22 May 1978 “Provisions for the social protection of maternity and on voluntary termination of pregnancy”. According to the complainants, the abovementioned decree infringes their freedom of thought, conscience, and religion – envisaged by Article 10 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union – since it would allegedly force doctors who make a conscientious objection to practising abortion because of their religious belonging to refuse to be hired in family and women’s counselling services or to resign if they are working there. The complainants moreover pointed out the alleged violation of Article 9 of Law No. 194/1978 – which governs conscientious objection – and Articles 2, 19, and 21 of the Italian Constitution.

Outcome of the case: 

Based on the abovementioned reasoning, the court decided to reject the complaint, and it confirmed the legitimacy of the decree under examination.