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Meloni wins diplomatic spat with Macron as abortion vanishes from G7 final text

The presence of Pope Francis, who joined the meeting of the world’s leading industrialised nations, might have influenced this outcome, according to Meloni's right-hand man.
The presence of Pope Francis, who joined the meeting of the world’s leading industrialised nations, might have influenced this outcome, according to Meloni's right-hand man. Copyright AP Photo
Copyright AP Photo
By Gerardo Fortuna
Published on Updated
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In a powerful show of influence, Italy’s hard right leader managed to scrap any reference to safe abortion in the final declaration of the group of industrialised democracies.

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The final wording of the G7 final communique has not included any mention of abortion as was the case at last year’s summit in Hiroshima.

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.

“It is regrettable that the word abortion is missing from the G7 final declaration,” French president Emmanuel Macron told Italian news agency Ansa, highlighting that the right to abortion is enshrined in the country’s constitution.

“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 continued.

“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,” Meloni rebutted.

The presence of Pope Francis, who joined the meeting of the world’s leading industrialised nations to talk about the risks of artificial intelligence, might have influenced this outcome.

“I don't know if, at a G7 with the Pope also participating, it was appropriate [to include a reference to abortion],” commented Italy’s agriculture minister Francesco Lollobrigida, Meloni’s brother-in-law and right-hand man.

What happened was “a national disgrace, [the government] should apologise to the country”, for the secretary of Italy’s centre-left party PD Elly Schlein.

“We have no use for a female premier who does not defend the rights of all other women in this country,” said the leader of Meloni’s main opposition party which performed particularly well at the latest elections and is now the largest delegation in the European Parliament’s socialist group (S&D).

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