IN ONE corner the Pope, in the other, a pair of stunning Italian actresses. It sounds like the start of a risqué joke, but what is at stake is the highly serious — and highly contentious — issue of Italian restrictions on fertility treatment.
This week Pope Benedict XVI stepped into politics for the first time since his election six weeks ago, endorsing calls to voters from Italy’s Roman Catholic bishops to boycott a referendum on the country’s fertility laws.
Addressing the bishops, the Pope said that easing restrictions on assisted fertility treatments would pose a threat to life and the family. The present law, passed last year, restricts the provision of fertility treatment to stable heterosexual couples and excludes single women or same-sex couples.
It also restricts surrogacy and research using human embryos, forbids sperm and egg donation, and limits the number of embryos created with in-vitro techniques to three.
The referendum, the work of liberals who regard the law as oppressive and fundamentalist, seeks to lift the ban on embryo research, remove limits on the number of eggs that can be fertilised, lift the ban on egg and sperm donors and remove language giving fertilised eggs full legal rights.
With a week to go to the vote, the walls of Italian cities are plastered with posters for the “yes” campaign, backed by the actresses Monica Bellucci and Sabrina Ferilli.
I guess Monica Bellucci who played Mary Magdalene in The Passion of the Christ is now playing the pre-conversion Mary Magdalene.
Signora Bellucci added: “If I asked a priest or a politician how my body is made, how my ovaries are made or how ovulation works, he wouldn’t know what I was talking about . . . this is an issue for scientists and women.”
Well actually if you ask how your body is made you ask not scientists but God. They can for the most part tell you how some of it works, but not how it was made.
As for the Church, Signora Ferilli said that it had “no business interfering in private griefs and dramas, and certainly does not have the right to impose its rules on an entire country. [Source]
But of course actresses can.