The Italian Almanac

Monica Bellucci

Italian News - May 7

Italian actress Monica Bellucci called in an interview for a "yes" vote in a referendum next month to partially repeal the country's tough fertility laws. "This law creates an absurd situation, as if Italian science should stop and leave us trailing behind other countries," Bellucci said.

Cardinal Camillo Ruini, head of Italy's Catholic bishopss conference, called on Italians in January to vote to maintain the existing law voted last year, saying that it "does not correspond to the ethics of the Church but it has the merit of safeguarding certain principles and essential criteria."

Italy's Constitutional Court cleared the way for a referendum on parts of the controversial law after accepting the case of opponents who collected more than four million signatures in a petition against the legislation. Promoters of a "yes" vote want to repeal restrictions on the provision of fertility treatment to "stable heterosexual couples" who live together and are of childbearing age, and who are shown to be clinically infertile.

They also want to lift the prohibition on research using human embryos, embryo freezing, surrogacy and the provision of fertility treatment to single women or same-sex couples. Another controversial issue is the law's stipulation that only three eggs can be fertilized at any one time, and that they must be transferred to the uterus simultaneously, increasing the risk of multiple births.