An open letter on the subject of abortion

By Jessica Martino

I am an Italian woman, a country that allows abortion to every woman, regulated by law 194: “Rules for the social protection of maternity and on the voluntary interruption of pregnancy”, approved in 1978.

It is a law that legalized abortions long before I was born (1994); when it was approved my mother was 6 years old.

A law of 22 articles, of which I report:

Article 4:

For the voluntary termination of pregnancy within the first ninety days, the woman accusing circumstances for which the continuation of pregnancy, childbirth or maternity would involve a serious danger to her physical or mental health, in relation or to her state of health, or to her economic, social or family conditions, or to the circumstances in which conception took place, or to forecasts of anomalies or malformations of the conceived, contact a public consultancy established pursuant to Article 2, letter a), 405 of 29 July 1975, or to a socio-health structure authorized by the region, or to a doctor of his choice.

Article 5:

In addition to having to guarantee the necessary medical examinations, the clinic and the socio-health structure have the task in any case, and especially when the request for termination of pregnancy is motivated by the impact of economic, social or family conditions on health of the pregnant woman, to examine with the woman and with the father of the conceived, where the woman permits, respecting the dignity and confidentiality of the woman and the person indicated as the father of the conceived, to help her to remove the causes that would lead to the termination of pregnancy, to enable her to assert her rights as a worker and mother, to promote any appropriate intervention to support the woman, offering her all the necessary help both during pregnancy and after childbirth .
After seven days, the woman can present herself, to obtain the termination of the pregnancy, on the basis of the document issued to her pursuant to this paragraph, at one of the authorized offices.

I know that if for economic, social, or personal reasons (the reasons can be multiple and do not necessarily have to be explained) I decide that it is not the time when I want my child to be born, I have the possibility to choose, according to my thoughts, my sensitivity, my right to decide for myself and my body. I know that I can also do it with due psychological support, which is very important.

Being psychologically followed by those in charge could help a woman to cope with the difficulty, to have the courage to carry on the pregnancy and keep the baby, or to have him adopted. Or, in any case, to have an abortion in the least painful and difficult way possible.

Whether or not to become a mother or parents at any given time is a woman’s or couple’s problem that is neither about politics nor the church.
Among other things, two institutions run purely by men.

A protection not only in favor of the woman, but also of the unborn child, who, coming to light, could suffer, without having asked for it, a life not suitable for his growth, his sustenance, his education, or a mother not ready to be.

This would result in truly profound, possibly irreparable, damage for mother and child.

Always a struggle between the “pro-life” and the pro-choice. A slogan, that of “pro-life”, which has always troubled me. As if a woman or a couple who decide to have an abortion, or all the people who are in favor of this right even without having recourse to it, were against life, against births. And that doesn’t make any sense.

The church appeals to morality, which in this case is synonymous with mere social control. A morality that undermines human freedom: abortion, methods of contraception, loving people of the same sex. And then again, speaking of “life”, in vitro fertilization, necessary to have a child when:

the artificial inseminations did not work;

the woman suffers from severe endometriosis, with tubal pathologies or low oocyte quality;

the man has low sperm quality;


That same church that has always contributed to stigmatizing the role of women in the sexual sphere, to inculcate in society that biblical virginity which claims that all women are saints, madonnas.

Be chaste and pure.

Arrives a virgin at the wedding.

Making the marriage of woman and sex dirty and profane, which seems to me, allow me, psychological violence and undermined freedom, once again.

Politics appeals to the church. What are pro-life campaigns for? Simply to grab the votes of the electorate with religious ideologies based on fundamentalism. A slice that counts, that politics cannot afford not to have in its favor.

The summary is this: on the one hand there is an obsolete church, which tries to keep the faithful close to itself with equally obsolete methods; on the other hand there is the politics that appeals to the morality supported by the church to secure a slice of the electorate.

We are talking about two parties who want nothing more than to hold power and exercise it.

A woman’s uterus, a woman’s choice of life, the path of a couple, the birth of a child are expedients in the hands of these two powers, who care little about the true essence of the cause.

We are now on the threshold of 2021 and in many countries of the world abortion is still prohibited, or where it is not prohibited it has so many limitations and restrictions that it is almost impossible to practice.

And so is Poland, which authorizes abortion only in three cases: when a woman’s health is in danger, when a rape occurs and when the fetus has malformations, it abrogates one.

In Poland, it is not possible to have an abortion if the fetus has malformations.

Politics and the church make use of the right to decide for a mother and a father. They choose that the mother or the couple must necessarily have the strength and the courage to face difficulties and sufferings related to malformations of the child, often even serious, usurping their free choice.

It is unacceptable, this journey backwards, to overshadow the cause of the abortion, to bury it underground and to think that it is gone. While down, in the labyrinths hidden by the light, women will continue to have abortions, illegally. Without due assistance, without due support.

Abortion is fundamental for the rights of women who, as human beings, are 100% human rights. It must be a private matter, involving a woman or a couple and the doctor.

Anything outside of it has no right to decide. Neither that it is called church nor that it is called politics.

Pro-life, if your morals tell you that having an abortion is something you would never do. I accept and understand it. No one will ever force you to do this. I would be on your side if someone forces you to do so. It would be awful. A violence. But it’s YOUR moral. Not everyone’s.

Pro-life, I wish you understood that being pro-choice doesn’t mean being pro-abortion. No woman or couple plans to resort to abortion. No woman or couple is happy to do this.

Proponents, including myself, of pro-choice hope they never have to face this choice in life, not even have to sift through it.

More than a fight, there should be a dialogue, an understanding. Each individual has their own story, their own reasons.

The time to understand has come.

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