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San Marino set to hold a referendum on whether to legalise abortion

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By euronews  with AFP
A view shows pro and anti-abortion campaign posters on September 10, 2021 in San Marino
A view shows pro and anti-abortion campaign posters on September 10, 2021 in San Marino   -   Copyright  AFP

San Marino -- a landlocked republic in central Italy -- is counting down to a referendum on legalising abortion.

The small state of 33,000 inhabitants will decide on September 26 whether to allow terminations up to twelve weeks of pregnancy. 

It is one of the only places left in Europe where terminating pregnancies is illegal.

Attempts to legalise abortion over the past 20 years have been vetoed by successive governments, most of them conservative.

"It is not true that abortion does not exist in San Marino," said Rosa Zafferani, a member of the UDS (San Marino Women's Union). "Women go to have abortions outside our country. They do it illegally because abortion is a criminal offence here. All this is disgraceful." 

But Rocco Gugliotta, 41, a warehouse worker, believes it shouldn't just be the mother who is the decision-maker. 

"A couple is composed of a mother and a father. Why does it always have to be only the mother who decides? Does the father not have any decision-making power? 

"The pregnancy must be carried out without abortion. If you really don't want the child there is the possibility of putting it up for adoption."

If the "yes" campaign win abortion would be legal within the first three months. After that, it would only be allowed if the mother's life was in danger or in the case of fetal abnormalities which could harm the woman physically or psychologically.

San Marino women were only given the vote in 1964. Divorce was only introduced in 1986.