On Jan. 14, 50,000 pro-choice women took to the streets of Milan, marching under the slogan "Let’s Emerge From Silence" and demanding that Italy maintain its current abortion law. The women were concerned that the country’s Catholic politicians, encouraged by the Vatican, would try to undo a 1978 Italian law that makes abortion legal in the first three months of pregnancy.
Pilgrims have been flocking to Rome for the papal transition. But for over a year Italy has been seeing another pilgrimage; that of women leaving the country to find fertility treatments. Now the country faces June referendums on the matter.
The abduction, and now wounding by U.S. forces, of Giuliana Sgrena, a foreign correspondent at the Italian daily Il Manifesto and specialist on issues for Arab women, has roused public opinion around the world.