Abortion between Crime and Care (Italy, 1889-1943)


  • Alessandra Gissi Department of Human and Social Sciences, University of Naples "L'Orientale", I


Abortion , Reproductive rights , Fascism , Liberal Italy


Perception of guilt and remorse is tied to the complicated question of what is an abortion. There is no doubt that abortion practices have had a long and complex history. Abortion is, in fact, a ‘mobile’ category, whose definition and identification depends on several factors and is related to the context and - not least - the complex question of identifying the actual voluntariness of the act. The frequency of spontaneous abortions, due to excessive force or working conditions, and the inevitability of the appeal to the interruption of pregnancy in the absence of other means of fertility control methods, allowed a widespread lack of guilt, testified also by language even in the mid-twenties, when the fascist regime begins to structure a policy that culminates, during the thirties, in unprecedented emphasis on the role and the female body in an exclusively procreative function and configuration of maternity as a patriotic duty particularly enshrined in the new Penal code of 1930.