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Meloni's clash with Macron on abortion - and that "frosty death stare"

Euronews described it thus: “Meloni wins diplomatic spat with Macron as abortion vanishes from G7 final text”, claiming that “in a powerful show of influence” the Italian leader had managed to scrap any reference to abortion in the final declaration from the meeting of the group of countries.

Meloni was in conflict with the French leader on the issue, media reports claimed, and a draft text of the declaration had included a commitment to abortion that was missing from the final declaration.

In previous days, French and Canadian sherpas had pushed for an addition to the text in which leaders “affirm the importance of preserving and ensuring effective access to safe and legal abortion and post-abortion care”, according to a working text seen by Euronews.

This would’ve reinforced conclusions agreed by the group last year in Japan, which vouched leaders’ “full commitment to achieving comprehensive [sexual and reproductive health and rights] for all, including by addressing access to safe and legal abortion and post-abortion care.”

This year’s final communique steps back from the ‘Hiroshima language’ removing any references to abortion, with leaders only stressing the importance of “adequate, affordable and quality health services” related to sexual and reproductive health.

The French president seemed to hit out at Meloni when he told  Italian news agency, Ansa, that “It is regrettable that the word abortion is missing from the G7 final declaration.”

“France has a vision of equality between women and men, but it’s not shared by all the political spectrum. You don’t have the same sensibilities in your country,” he said.

Meloni then accused him of using the G7 to engage in a domestic campaign.

“There is no reason to polemicise on issues that we have long agreed on. I think it is profoundly wrong, in difficult times like these, to campaign using a forum as valuable as the G7,” she said.

Macron led the initiatives earlier this year which saw France become the first country in the world to put a right to abortion into its constitution – though the amendment was made parliamentarians, not by a referendum.

The measure was widely seen as a move by Macron to shore up the liberal vote and to boost his left-wing credentials ahead of 2024 elections. However, he was forced to call a snap national election last week after his Renaissance party was chastened in the European elections – polling at less than half of the right-wing National Rally party.

The apparently frosty relations between Meloni and Macron attracted global attention, with Fox News saying Meloni could be seen giving a frosty “death stare” at Macron.

Abortion has been legal in Italy since 1978, but the country has a very significant number of conscientious objectors, with more than 70% of gynaecologists registered as being exempted from performing abortions for reasons of religious or moral belief.


Máirín de Barra



This article was first published on Gript and is printed here with permission


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