Pass the sick bucket.
this article from The Herald Sun 30 August 2007
A BOTCHED abortion of a fetus instead of its Down syndrome twin has prompted the Vatican to compare abortion to the Nazis' selective breeding practices.
Italy was embroiled in a bitter ethical dispute yesterday after it emerged that a surgeon had accidentally terminated the wrong fetus while trying to abort its Down syndrome twin.
The operation on a 38-year-old woman 18 weeks into her pregnancy was performed at the San Paolo hospital in Milan in June but has only just come to light.
The fetus who had Down syndrome was also subsequently aborted.
Weighing into the controversy, the Vatican said aborting a Down syndrome child was the result of a culture of perfection resembling Nazi eugenics.
Abortion was legalised in Italy in 1978.
Fetuses can be terminated up to the 90th day of pregnancy, though abortions can be performed later if there is a risk to the life of the mother or the fetus is malformed.
The gynaecologist who performed the Milan abortion, said the woman, who has not been named, requested the abortion after an amniocentesis test.
The doctor, Prof Anna Maria Marconi, said her conscience was clear.
She said the identical fetuses had moved in the womb between the last scan and the operation.
Hospital authorities backed Prof Marconi, calling the botched abortion a "misfortune".
The mother, who has a small son, said that her life had been ruined.
She told Corriere della Sera: "Neither my husband nor I can sleep at night."
She said the happiness she and her husband felt upon learning she was expecting twins had turned to heartbreak.
Her husband said they were truly desperate over the terrible mistake and were consulting lawyers.
Italian police have been asked to investigate.
Catholics campaigning to have the abortion law repealed have seized upon the episode.
The Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano said: "No one has the right to suppress another life and take the place of God for any motive whatever."
The newspaper said selective abortion amounted to eugenics that stemmed from a culture of perfection.
Christian Democrat MP Luca Volonte said the Milan mistake was "infanticide arising from a contempt for human life".
The head of obstetrics and gynaecology at the San Paolo hospital, Giorgio Bolis, said such cases were rare and that an internal hospital inquiry had shown that there were no procedural errors.
Health Minister Livia Turco said existing abortion laws were wise and would not be altered.
According to the Health Ministry, annual abortions in Italy dropped from a height of 234,801 in 1982 to 129,588 in 2005.
The mistaken abortion was the latest error to prompt debate about the standards of Italy's hospitals as well as its abortion law.
In March, a fetus aborted in the 22nd week of pregnancy at a Florence hospital because of suspected deformities was found to be physically sound.
It was resuscitated but only survived for a short time.