Induced abortion in Italy by foreign women

Marzia Loghi, Instituto Nazionale di Statistica (ISTAT)
Alessia D'Errico, Instituto Nazionale di Statistica (ISTAT)

In 1979 ISTAT, according to the law 194/78 on voluntary abortion, started the survey of induced abortion (IA). Data are collected using an individual form compiled by the doctor that makes the operation to terminate the pregnancy. Information about the woman and about the operation of IA are requested. In particular about the woman we have: date of birth, province of birth and residence, province of the operation, marital status, educational level, work status, citizenship, past reproductive history (in term of number of live births, dead births, miscarriages and induced abortions), weeks of amenorrhea. A general description of the phenomenon shows that from 1980 to nowadays (2004 data) there has been a considerable descending trend for IA ratios (from 15.3 cases for 1000 women aged 15-49 to 9.4). The trend can be divided into three phases: a) an irregular growing trend due to the progressive adjustment of the statistical survey and a share of illegal abortions becoming legal (1980-1984); b) a constant and steady decrease of the abortion levels (1985-1995); c) abortion ratios stop the decreasing trend (1995-2004), because of the different recourse to abortion by marital status, age and citizenship. Estimating IA rates by these three characteristics of women it is clear that levels are still descending for Italian women while they are very high and increasing for foreign women. Levels of IA are 4 times higher among foreign women compared to Italian ones (and 4.7 times if we look at young women). Considering also marital status, the value is equal to 5.6 for young and no married women. Focusing our attention only on some countries of origin (the ones showing very high rates) we try to compare the characteristics of legislation. Moreover, if possible, we also would like to compare IA rates in Italy with IA rates in the country of origin.

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Presented in Session 26: Contraception and Induced Abortion in Europe