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Having children should be women’s main mission, Italy senator says

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Young women’s “first aspiration” should be to have children, a senator with the right-wing party of Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said on Thursday, sparking outrage among opposition groups.

Lavinia Mennuni is seen.
Lavinia Mennuni is seen.

Meloni’s Brothers of Italy party has made it a priority to reverse the country’s declining birth rate and promote the traditional family as it clamps down on same-sex parenting.

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“My mother always used to tell me … you must always remember that you have the opportunity to do whatever you want, but you must never forget that your first aspiration must be to be a mother yourself,” senator Lavinia Mennuni said.

Mennuni, who was speaking on a talk show on the La7 TV channel next to a Catholic archbishop, said Italian and Vatican institutions had to make maternity “cool” again and encourage young people to marry early and start families.

“There is a need, let’s say a mission, because I think it is a beautiful thing, (for women) to bring children into the world who will be the future citizens, the future Italians,” said the 47-year-old lawmaker who has three children herself.

Senator Raffaella Paita, from the centrist Italia Viva party, said such comments showed “an embarrassing backwardness”.

“Her words resonate with ideas from an obscurantist past, fortunately outdated,” Paita said.

Chiara Appendino, a lawmaker with the left-leaning Five Star Movement, wrote on social media X that Brothers of Italy suffered from “Medieval nostalgia” and said young women should be taught “the freedom to dream and the means to accomplish themselves as they wish.”

Last week, Mennuni sparked criticism for proposing a bill that would prevent school directors from halting Catholic-themed activities, such as the staging of Christmas plays or the making of nativity scenes.

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