Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:


Italians fail to overturn restrictive reproduction law

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: (Published 16 June 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:1405

Rapid Response:

People must decide

Sir. The letter of your correspondent from Italy about referendum on
law 40/2004 on medically assisted procreation does not afford the simple
theme of the popular participation to referendum. Only 1 in 4 voters
effectively voted to modify this law, which needs really to be modified.
In my opinion, contrasts with abortion law and the situation of about
30.000 frozen embryos should be preliminary decided. The popular wisdom
did not accept ideas that cannot be fully understood in their
consequences. In previous referenda of general and understandable social
interest (e. g., abortion law, modifications to drug law, etc.) people
voted in very high percentage. In this case, people did NOT vote in very
high percentage, and I was among them. A student of mine, dr Stefano De
Pasquale Ceratti, wrote a chapter on this topic, and the chapter was
published prior of any decision about referendum. The matter of the
beginning of human life must be thoroughly studied from the ethical point
of view, and explained to people on all respects. Fortunately enough,
people and Parliament decide, not scientists.
De Pasquale Ceratti S., Chapter CCXVII, La procreazione medicalmente
assistita, pp. 83- 136, in Trattato di Medicina legale e Scienze affini
(G. Giusti ed.), CEDAM, Padova 2005.

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

17 June 2005
Giusto Giusti
Professor of Legal Medicina
Rome 00133, via Montpellier 1