Following a divisive debate that pitted outraged liberals against conservative Roman Catholics, Italy's senate on Thursday passed a landmark bill that will bar gay couples and single women from having access to artificial insemination, Agence France-Presse reports. The senate passed the bill by 169 votes to 90 and the legislation will now be sent back to the lower house for minor adjustments. The text, however, will essentially remain unchanged before becoming law, officials said.
The law bans heterogeneous insemination, or insemination by a third party outside a couple, essentially banning insemination by single women and gay couples as well as banning women from becoming pregnant using the sperm of a deceased partner. Italy is the only country in Europe to ban third-party insemination, contrary to practice in Spain, Britain, Germany, and Austria. Alessandra Mussolini, granddaughter of Italy's World War II dictator, said she would organize a petition to have the legislation repealed.