By Nicole Winfield | 22 September 2016
SEATTLE PI/AP — (ROME) Italy’s efforts to combat infertility and reverse one of Europe’s lowest birthrates stumbled badly Thursday following an ad campaign denounced as sexist, racist and ignorant of the economic reasons why Italians aren’t having babies.
Italy on Thursday celebrated its first-ever “Fertility Day,” promoted by the Health Ministry to prevent infertility and sterility through education and health programs.
Health Minister Beatrice Lorenzin sought to keep on message during the official launch, decrying the fact that 700,000 Italians who want to have children can’t because of infertility problems. The campaign focuses on tobacco, drug and alcohol abuse.
But she was on the defensive after her ministry was forced on the eve of the event to remove a “Fertility Day” publicity flyer criticized as racist.
The flyer showed four smiling, light-skinned adults at the beach illustrating “good habits” for reproductive health. The image was placed over a darker image of a group of young people, including a black man, smoking — an illustration of the “bad companions” who should be “abandoned.” […]