Abortion legislation

Legislation timeline

  • 1978: abortion is allowed (Law No. 194 dated 22 May)
  • 2020: Voluntary Termination of Pregnancy among activities considered non-deferrable
  • 2020: the Council of Health expressed a favorable opinion regarding recourse to voluntary termination of pregnancy by pharmacological method up to 63 days’ or 9 complete weeks’ gestation

Source: https://www.salute.gov.it/imgs/C_17_pubblicazioni_3039_allegato.pdf

Abortion conditions

Ground Gestational limit
To save a woman’s life No limit
Because foetal impairment Up to foetal viability
To preserve a woman’s mental health
To preserve a woman’s physical health
For economic and social reasons
On request 12 weeks + 6 days from LMP

Source: Law No. 194 dated 22 May 1978 (English) (http://www.columbia.edu/itc/history/degrazia/courseworks/legge_194.pdf)

Legal conditions

  • Written consent by the woman
  • Pre-abortion consultation (legal counselling) only for minor without parental agreement + pre-abortion confirmation consultation (only medical)
  • Mandatory 7-day period between pre-abortion consultation and abortion procedure unless abortion is urgently required

Specific conditions for minors

  • Parent’s (or guardian’s) consent required for minors under 18. However, in a case where the parents deny such permisssion, or when the direct parent consultation is deemed unfeasible, the abortion procedure can be authorized by the juvenile judge. Urgent procedures exempt the woman from obtaining either the parental or the judicial consent. If the minor is in the second trimester of pregnancy the limits set for this gestational age also apply.

Practical conditions

Medical abortion conditions

Place Prescription 1st drug taken 2nd drug taken
OB/GYN department of a hospital/clinic Yes Yes Yes
Another physician office No No No
Midwife office No No No
Abortion centre/clinic Yes Yes Yes
At home No No Tes

Source: http://www.quotidianosanita.it/allegati/allegato228648.pdf

Mandatory pre-abortion examinations

  • None.

Involved healthcare professionals

  • Surgical abortion: obstetrician/gynaecologist (OB/GYN) or another physician.
  • Medical abortion: OB/GYN or another physician.

Abortion statistics

Abortion rates per 1.000 women aged 15-49

Source: https://www.salute.gov.it/portale/donna/dettaglioPubblicazioniDonna.jsp?lingua=italiano&id=3236

Overall number of induced abortions

Source: https://www.salute.gov.it/portale/donna/dettaglioPubblicazioniDonna.jsp?lingua=italiano&id=3236

Abortion ratio per 1.000 live births: 165.9 (2020)

Source: https://www.salute.gov.it/portale/donna/dettaglioPubblicazioniDonna.jsp?lingua=italiano&id=3236

Abortions performed “on request”: % ()


Overall number of induced abortions vs. medical abortions

Source: https://www.salute.gov.it/portale/donna/dettaglioPubblicazioniDonna.jsp?lingua=italiano&id=3236

Induced abortions per gestational age

Unfortunately we have no data for this country.

Source: https://www.salute.gov.it/portale/donna/dettaglioPubblicazioniDonna.jsp?lingua=italiano&id=3236

Place of abortion

Source: https://www.salute.gov.it/portale/donna/dettaglioPubblicazioniDonna.jsp?lingua=italiano&id=3236

Characteristics of women having induced abortion

Unfortunately we have no data for this country.

Source: https://www.salute.gov.it/portale/donna/dettaglioPubblicazioniDonna.jsp?lingua=italiano&id=3236

In 2020, among women who had induced abortion:

  • 98% lived in Italy
  • 24,5% had at least 1 previous induced abortion
  • 60,6% had at least 1 child.

Fertility and contraception

Fertility rates in women aged 15-49

Source: https://www.istat.it/it/files/2021/12/REPORT-NATALITA-2020.pdf

Women age at first birth

  • 32,2 years of age (2020)

Overall contraception data

  • 57% of women aged 18-54 used a contraceptive method (2013):
  • 24% of women aged 15-54 used oral contraceptive
  • 4% of women aged 15-54 used intra-uterine device (IUD).

Country-specific characteristics

  • Women have to give written consent.
  • Abortion is not taught during health care professionals’ (HCPs’) medical studies.
  • All HCPs have the right to conscientiously object except for women whose life is in danger. Conscientious objection has to be declared in advance, and shall not exempt health personnel and allied health personnel from providing care prior to and following the abortion. In 2019, 67% of OBs/GYNs conscientiously objected.
  • Both surgical and medical abortions are free of charge for resident and non-resident women.

Download statistics of Italy

The statistics presented are freely accessible and may be used, copied, displayed or distributed provided that their source is given. You can choose whether you prefer to download the statistics of the last 10 years or the full data set. Press one of the buttons to generate a report in PDF format for this country.


  • EFTA = European Free Trade Association
  • EU = European Union
  • IUD = intra-uterine device
  • LARC = long-acting reversible contraception
  • LMP = last menstruation period
  • GYN = gynaecologist
  • HCP = health care professional
  • hCG = human chorionic gonadotropin
  • HIV = human immunodeficiency virus
  • OB = obstetrician
  • Rh = Rhesus
  • US = ultrasound


  • Law No. 194 dated 22 May 1978 (Italian) (http://www.salute.gov.it/imgs/C_17_normativa_845_allegato.pdf)
  • Law No. 194 dated 22 May 1978 (English) (http://www.columbia.edu/itc/history/degrazia/courseworks/legge_194.pdf)

A special thanks to our correspondents for contributing in data collection.
Please contact info@exelgyn.com if you have additional data or would like to comment information

Page last updated: 31 March 2023