This weekend Italians will vote on a referendum that proposes increased accessibility to artificial insemination and more embryonic cell research activities.
A complicated and heated debate has kept discussions lively for the past month. In addition, an expensive advertising campaign has covered cities with posters and televisions with colourful spots, in which various celebrities have declared their position on the referendum and numerous images of pregnant women and foetuses have been employed.
Almost all political figures and social organisations have made their opinions on the referendum public. Most centre-left groups strongly support expanding accessibility to artificial insemination and embryonic research, although there have been some important exceptions. Margherita party leader Francesco Rutelli caused a stir when he announced he would abstain from voting on the referendum.
Centre-right groups and the Vatican have, for the most part, expressed opposition to the referendum. However, there are also voices from these coalitions that have come out strongly in favour of the referendum. The Minister for Equal Opportunities, Stefania Prestigiacomo, is an advocate for the “Sì” campaign and recently expressed fears that if the referendum was voted against, abortion laws would be the next to be attacked. Other groups, like the Italian Christian Protestant Organisation, have only stated that it is important to vote.