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Swiss Parliament Legalizes Abortion

More than eight years after the Swiss Socialist Party proposed legalizing abortion, the Swiss Parliament voted last week to legalize abortion in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy without obliging women to seek “neutral” advice at a state-approved center. Currently, though abortion is technically illegal in all of Switzerland, it is widely practiced and a woman can terminate her pregnancy in a state-run hospital or clinic provided she has a signed letter from two doctors stating that there are sound medical reasons for the termination. The Christian People’s Party, a member of the four-party coalition government, has already challenged last weeks decision saying it would collect the necessary 100,000 signatures to force a referendum on the law. If the anti-abortion group collects the required number of signatures, the law will not take effect before a national vote which is unlikely to occur for several more years.

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Media Resources: Salon.com Ð March 23, 2001; CNN Ð March 24, 2001