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Monday 22 June 2020

Conscientious objection and law 194. A little help about counseling in Rome.

An essential function of the law is to establish rules which, as Kant pointed out, allow the arbitrariness of each to coexist with the arbitrariness of the others.

To this end, in the modern Constitutions, some general principles have been inserted which cannot be violated, if not denying the system itself on which democracies are based.

Following a traditional view, principles and rules should be established only by the state (positive law); no space should compete with "natural law", that is, that set of rules that derives from evaluations of conscience, individual or collective.

It is therefore inevitable that the law may sometimes require you to do what morality forbids. To resolve this conflict, the hypotheses of "conscientious objection" expressly foreseen and disciplined have increased in recent years.

From 1972 the objection to military service was admitted, with the law "Marcora" (15 December 1972 n.772), totally insufficient, restrictive and punitive. It will be necessary to wait until July 8, 1998, with law n.230, to establish that the objection is not a benefit granted by the State, but a right of the person. Important recognition on a theoretical level, but with few practical effects: Law 23 August 2004 n.226 will render the service of voluntary conscription.

Law No. 413 of 12 October 1993 admits the objection to animal testing.

Law No. 40 of 19 February 2004 admits the objection to medically assisted procreation.

The law n.194 of 22 May 1978 decriminalizes the voluntary termination of pregnancy and contextually, with article 9, admits the conscientious objection by the health personnel.

As a demonstration of how difficult the topic is, we mention:
- the law 22 December 2017, n.219, on the provisions on biological testament, which DOES NOT admit objections from the medical staff;
- Law no. 76 of 20 May 2016, which recognizes civil unions between persons of the same sex but does NOT admit objections from the registrar;

In this last case, however hard we try, we cannot understand why any form should be admitted: in order to be able to speak of objection, it is obvious that there must be an obligation; if someone forces you to use a rifle or if someone forces you to end a pregnancy ...
At most, we can oppose it for doubts of unconstitutionality, which have been dispelled several times by constitutional experts.

But let's go back to law 194. Let me be clear, it is a law of the Italian State, therefore it should be applied in all health facilities. But there is Article 9, which admits objection. Therefore, the law provides that the National Health System guarantees the adequate presence of non-objector personnel.

But there are cuts to health.
And then many Italian hospitals are Catholic.
And then the percentage of objecting gynecologists has mysteriously gone from 50% to 70% in ten years.
And then ...

Political and economic considerations are beyond the scope of this site, so our contribution is simply the following:

- provide a list of hospitals where "there are not too many problems" with the 194 and the ru486;
- provide a list of family counseling centers;
- provide a list of anti-violence centers (just to suggest that the problem is perhaps of a cultural nature, even before a moral or religious one).
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