On 5 October, Verona City Council approved motion no. 434 declaring their town a "city in favour of life", and adopted a number of initiatives "for the prevention of abortion and support for motherhood". The motion was given the go ahead on the 40th anniversary of Law no. 194 of 1978, which decriminalised abortion in Italy.
Municipality to finance anti-abortion organisations
At the bottom of the three-page document the three objectives of motion no. 434 are expressed. Through this motion the Council commits the Mayor and the Committee to: financing anti-abortion associations, promoting the project "Secret Cradle" (Culla Segreta) and proclaiming Verona as a "city in favour of life". The activist group Non una di meno (Not one less) stated in a Facebook post that the Municipality will thus finance "Catholic for-profit associations that aim to promote initiatives against abortion".
The administration undertakes to "include in the next budget adjustment adequate financing to associations and projects operating in the territory of the municipality of Verona". The text of the motion indicates two projects: the projects “Gemma" and "Chiara”.
Emergency contraception described as creating “hidden killings”
The "Gemma project", which is being carried out by the Vita Nova Foundation, offers financial contributions to pregnant women who would otherwise not be willing to “keep their child”. They are given money for the duration of their pregnancies and for the following year. "Chiara" is a project run by the Diocesan Centre for Life (Centro Diocesano Aiuto alla Vita) in Verona that aims to provide food and basic commodities or a small financial contribution to single mothers in need.
The motion also provides for the promotion of the "regional project ‘Secret Cradle’, which prints flyers and distributes them in the districts and in all municipal spaces". “Secret Cradle” is a project of the Italian region Veneto, which has made a poster to be placed in family planning clinics to promote the idea of giving birth safely and anonymously in hospitals, as required by national law.
The document, approved by the municipality, expresses very conservative positions about the termination of pregnancy. For example, "hidden killings" are referred to with reference to "abortion pills", otherwise known as emergency contraception.
Protesters dress as handmaids
The approval of the motion received positive comment from Senator Simone Pillon, from the Italian far-right party Lega, known for his law draft on the shared custody of children: "After reading the resolution I can say that I do not really understand the outrage surrounding Verona, in full compliance with the law, deciding to help women in difficulty to continue their pregnancies”.
Activists from Non una di meno, dressed like maidservants from the TV series "The Handmaid's Tale" in protest against the motion. They consider the motion extremely restrictive and have a completely different opinion. The demonstrators were removed from the courtroom.