Giorgia Meloni, the leader of Fratelli d’Italia and Italy’s presumptive new prime minister, has views which must be sending a shiver down the spine of the progressive wing of bioethics. Overnight she became a darling of American conservatives after clips of her speech to the World Congress of Families in Verona in 2019 surfaced on Twitter.
She is a passionate, even manic public speaker, and knows how to hit all the buttons for social conservatives. “I am Giorgia, I am a woman, I am a mother, I am Italian, I am a Christian!” she declared in another viral speech.
In 2019 she took aim at surrogacy, late-term abortions, and transgender hormone therapy for children:
… we are not an embarrassment. The embarrassing people are those who support practices such as wombs-for-rent, abortion in the ninth month, and blocking the development of children with drugs at the age of 11. That is an embarrassment.
She would also like to reverse Italy’s declining birth rates – although if China’s authoritarian government is finding this hard, Fratelli d’Italia might find it difficult, too.
It is scandalous that Europe does not fund the issue of declining birth rates. This is the biggest issue for Europe. If we don’t address this, everything else we do is useless. If the European Union has an Erasmus programme for social mobility, if it has a Horizon programme for scientific research, why can’t it have a family programme to promote the birth rate?
Meloni’s critics describe her as neo-fascist, at worst, or a fan of Victor Orban’s vision for Hungary, at best. It will be interesting to see whether she will survive the headwinds which are battering the Italian economy.