San Marino approves abortion measure

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ROME — Abortion rights advocates in San Marino expressed satisfaction this week that lawmakers voted to legalize abortion in the tiny republic, one of the last European states to ban abortion. procedure in all circumstances.

Wednesday’s parliamentary vote was the culmination of a referendum last year in which citizens voted overwhelmingly to strike down a 150-year-old law that criminalized the procedure.

The predominantly Catholic nation’s legislature voted 32 in favor, 7 against and 10 abstentions to legalize abortion in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

The September 2021 referendum found that 77% of voters wanted the new law, which would also allow abortion beyond the first trimester of pregnancy if the severe fetal abnormalities endangered a woman’s life or health, at both physically or psychologically.

The cost of the procedure will be covered by the San Marino public health system.

San Marino is surrounded by central Italy, and many women have traveled to have abortions at a hospital in Italy, where the procedure was made legal – despite fierce objections from the Vatican – in 1978.

Under the old law, women risked criminal prosecution if their abortion abroad was known. However, no one has been prosecuted, said Elena D’Amelio, one of the activists who collected signatures on a petition to organize the referendum.

Passing the new law gave women “the right that was forcefully demanded in the referendum,” lawmaker Giacomo Simoncini told San Marino RTV.

The participation in the referendum was 41% in the republic of 33,300 inhabitants.

In 2018 Irish voters overwhelmingly called for the legalization of abortion. Abortion is still illegal in Malta and Andorra. Poland introduced a near-total ban on the procedure in 2021.

One of the provisions of San Marino law calls for sex education in schools in the republic, a measure aimed at preventing unwanted pregnancies, D’Amelio said.

Women in San Marino must have a consultation with medical personnel before having an abortion, but it can be done online. No one can be denied the procedure during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

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