Rallies in Italy coincided with World Day for Safe Abortions.
Thousands of women joined marches across Italy on Wednesday to protect access to abortion amid concerns of a threat to abortion rights following the far-right election victory this week.
The nationwide demonstrations, organised by Italian feminist movement Non Una di Meno, were held in around 50 cities across Italy, including Rome and Milan, on International Safe Abortion Day, reports news agency ANSA.
The pro-abortion marches saw women, and many men, take to the streets in defence of Italy's "Legge 194", the 1978 law guaranteeing women the right to terminate a pregnancy on request during the first 90 days.
Activists said the campaign was designed to send a message to Giorgia Meloni, leader of the far-right Fratelli d'Italia party which triumphed in elections, that they would not tolerate any changes to Law 194.
The Meloni-led alliance, which includes the centre-right party of Silvio Berlusconi and the right-wing Lega of Matteo Salvini, scooped around 44 per cent of the vote, securing a clear majority in parliament.
During her election campaign Meloni, Italy's presumed next prime minister, stressed that she had no plans to "abolish or modify" Law 194 but that she wanted to provide "other options".
Meloni told state radio channel RAI3 that she would like to "add a right" by offering financial support to women "who find themselves in the position of having to abort because they have no alternatives."
She also praised the "extraordinary work" of crisis pregnancy centres and hailed the "freedom" of "guaranteeing the freedom of conscience" to healthcare providers who object to carrying out abortions.
Among those demonstrating in Rome on Wednesday evening was prominent centre-left politician Laura Boldrini who told La Repubblica newspaper: "My fear is that this right not to have an abortion becomes an obligation to give birth, when it is necessary to defend the self-determination of women".
Although abortion is legal in Italy, in reality it can be difficult to access due to the extremely high number of conscientious objectors among doctors, amounting to an estimated two thirds of gynaecologists, according to Italian news reports.
Photo Non Una di Meno - Milan
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