The Italian Almanac

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women marching

Italian News - January 15

Tens of thousands of women have marched through the Italian city of Milan to defend their rights to have legal abortions against changes proposed by Vatican-backed Catholic politicians. Organisers say 150,000 people participated in the rally, while police have put the crowd at 60,000 people.

The current law allows abortions within the first three months of pregnancy. Former European Union commissioner and Italian Socialist-Radical Party leader, Emma Bonino, has hailed the protesters' determination. "People have understood that the clergy's moves have overstepped the bounds and it is necessary to defend the right [to an abortion]," she said.

An Italian right-wing party supported by the Catholic Church has launched a campaign against abortion and a parliamentary inquiry was opened into the application of the 1978 law. Pope Benedict XVI has recently hailed the work of the Right to Life movement.