The Report containing the 2021 data on the implementation of L.194/78 which establishes rules for the social protection of maternity and for the voluntary termination of pregnancy (IVG) was transmitted to Parliament on 12 September 2023.
The data are collected thanks to the Epidemiological Surveillance System of Voluntary Interruptions of Pregnancy (IVG), active in Italy since 1980 and involving the Ministry of Health, the Istituto Superiore di Sanità (ISS), Istat, the Regions and the two Autonomous Provinces. Monitoring takes place starting from Istat questionnaires, which must be completed for each IVG in the structure where the intervention was carried out, then collected and transmitted by the Regions.
Main findings for 2021 In total, they were notified in 2021 63,653 IVG. The continuum is confirmed decreasing trend of the phenomenon (-4.2% compared to 2020) starting from 1983. The abortion rate (No. IVG compared to 1,000 women aged 15-49 years resident in Italy), which is the most accurate indicator for a correct evaluation of the resort to IVG, confirms the decreasing trend of the phenomenon: it was equal to 5.3 per 1,000 in 2021 (-2.2% compared to 2020). The Italian figure remains among the lowest values internationally. In 2021, the number of IVGs decreased in all geographic areas. The use of IVG in 2021 decreased in all age groups compared to 2020, especially among the youngest. The highest abortion rates remain in women aged between 25 and 34. Between minors, the abortion rate for 2021 was 2.1 per 1,000 women. In 2021, there were 1,707 women under the age of 18 who carried out an IVG, equal to a total of 2.7% of all interventions performed in Italy, a figure consistently lower than that of European countries with similar social and healthcare systems. After an increase in time, in recent years, IVG among foreign women has shown a decreasing trend. In 2020, the last year for which the abortion rate of foreign women is available, the value was equal to 12.0 per 1,000 women, a figure which is decreasing (it was equal to 17.2 per 1,000 women in 2014), but which remains however higher than that of Italian women (5.0 per 1,000 women in 2020).
The percentage of IVG performed by women with previous abortion experience continues to decrease since 2009 and was equal to 24.0% in 2021. The evolution of the percentage of repeated abortions confirms that the tendency to resort to abortion in our country is constantly decreasing, now also among foreign citizens; the phenomenon can presumably be explained by the greater and more effective use of methods for conscious procreation, alternatives to abortion, according to the auspices of the Law. The prevailing trend is also for 2021 use of family counseling for issuing the certification necessary to request IVG (42.8%), compared to other services (Confirmed doctor 20.3%; Obstetric-gynecological service 34.9%). The clinic not only offers this service but plays an important role in the prevention of IVG and in supporting women who decide to terminate their pregnancy, even if not uniformly throughout the area. The percentage of operations carried out early, therefore less exposed to complications, continues to increase: 61.7% of operations were carried out within 8 weeks of gestation (compared to 56.0% in 2020), 21.7% at 9 -10 weeks, 9.9% at 11-12 weeks and 6.7% after the twelfth week. I am waiting times are decreasing, although a non-negligible variability persists between the Regions. The use of pharmacological abortion varies greatly between Regions, both in terms of the number of interventions and the number of facilities that offer it. The comparison over time highlights a continuous increase in the use of Mifepristone and Prostaglandins and the use now extended to all Regions. In 2021, 48.3% of operations were carried out with mifepristone and prostaglandins. As regards theconscientious objection, in 2021 the phenomenon affected 63.6% of gynecologists (a decrease compared to 64.6% in 2020), 40.5% of anesthetists and 32.8% of non-medical staff. Large regional variations are noted for all three categories.
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