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MILAN (ChurchMilitant.com) - The Italian Medical Society for Contraception is requesting that the Italian government require every pharmacy to have the "five-day-after pill." The public appeal said in part, "The five-day-after pill should be compulsory in all Italian pharmacies. We reject the notion that women are forced to move from one pharmacy to another to obtain emergency contraception."
This appeal comes after a pharmacist was acquitted of all charges after refusing to prescribe contraception in 2013 on grounds of conscience. The verdict in favor of Elisa Mecozzi was handed down December 15.
A statement by her lawyers Simone Pillon, and Marzio Calacione read:
After three years of criminal proceedings with all of its effects on her personal, family and professional life, our assistance has been recognized for its reasons, in accordance with Art. 3 code of ethics of pharmacists which reads' The pharmacist must work independently and conscientiously in accordance with the ethical principles and keeping in mind the patient's rights and respect for life.
In response, Annarosa Racca, the Federfarma national president, remarked, "[T]he pharmacist is obligated to dispense the drug and by law must distribute it, because the pharmacy is the first defense of the National Health Service in the area. Conscientious objection is not covered, and that is as it should be."
Piero Uroda, president of the Italian Catholic Pharmacists union, commented, "We ask not to be disturbed and to be protected. We must not lose jobs and there should not be discrimination. If a pharmacist believes that what you're asking is the killing of a small individual with a soul, he must not be an accomplice. Abortion is a crime."
In 2015, EllaOne, also known as the five-day-after pill, was authorized by the Italian Medicines Agency to be given to women without a prescription. In 1964, contraception came to Italy, but wasn't authorized for sale by pharmacies. It was in 1970 that birth control clinics were opened and contraception survived legal challenges in Italy's judicial system.
The Catholic Church has always taught that contraception is intrinsically evil, stating in the Catechism:
Thus the innate language that expresses the total reciprocal self-giving of husband and wife is overlaid, through contraception, by an objectively contradictory language, namely, that of not giving oneself totally to the other. This leads not only to a positive refusal to be open to life but also to a falsification of the inner truth of conjugal love, which is called upon to give itself in personal totality.
Pope Paul VI, in his landmark encyclical "Humanae Vitae," wrote,
Therefore We base Our words on the first principles of a human and Christian doctrine of marriage when We are obliged once more to declare that the direct interruption of the generative process already begun and, above all, all direct abortion, even for therapeutic reasons, are to be absolutely excluded as lawful means of regulating the number of children.
In 2015, Italy's birth rate fell to its lowest rate since 1861, which many Catholics are blaming on widespread use of contraception and abortion. Last year, there were 8.4 births per 1,000 people, down from 38.3 per 1,000 more than a hundred years ago.
Beatrice Lorenzin, the minister of health, remarked, "We are at the threshold where people who die are not being replaced by newborns. That means we are a dying country. This situation has enormous implications for every sector: the economy, society, health, pensions, just to give a few examples."
The average age when an Italian woman has her first child is 31, and the demographic crisis is even worse in the south of Italy. In Sardinia, the birth rate is only 7.1 births per 1,000 people.