After nearly two years of political debate, the San Marino Parliament has finally passed the nation’s first-ever abortion legislation. The bill was approved by 38-31 votes on Tuesday afternoon, with six abstentions, and will now be delivered to the Italian government for final approval.
It should come into effect by January 1st next year, or earlier if the Italian Senate approves it in time. Abortion was completely illegal in San Marino before this decision; those who were found guilty of carrying out the procedure faced up to eight years in prison.
San Marino Votes On Abortion
Last year, a campaign led by young activists collected the 12,000 signatures necessary to secure a referendum on a law that would legalize abortion in San Leone.
Earlier this week, San Marino approved the legislation. The new legislation makes abortion available for women when their physical or mental health is endangered and in cases of incest and rape.
These exemptions are already present in various pieces of legislation worldwide including in Canada and Romania. Critics argue that the exceptions will be difficult to prove but those who supported this measure see it as an essential step forward.
The bill will now go to the Governor’s office before being made into law. If signed, it would make San Marino one of only four countries in Europe (excluding Ireland) where abortion is legal on demand with no restrictions: Malta, France, and Andorra are the other three countries that have such unrestricted access to abortions.
They Vote Yes
The law, which was overwhelmingly approved by voters last year, had been blocked by a citizens’ referendum. The proposal stated that any woman seeking an abortion must first consult with medical professionals and wait two weeks before obtaining the procedure.
But lawmakers were quick to strike down this measure, leading to what has become one of Europe’s most progressive abortion laws. In Italy, which is traditionally conservative on social issues, only four regions out of 20 currently allow for abortions up to 12 weeks gestation.
These four regions are Molise, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Sardinia and Valle d’Aosta. On the other hand, five regions permit abortions up to 14 weeks: Tuscany, Lombardy, Veneto, Emilia-Romagna and Lazio.
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Pro-Life Groups Prevail
Voting to legalize abortion and birth control in San Marino has been a major victory for pro-choice groups in the past year. This was a campaign led by Aula, who fights for the right of women to make their own reproductive choices, not just in San Marino but all over the world.
The legislation was passed on Tuesday after intense negotiations involving amendments that sought to protect both mother’s and children’s rights. Eventually, pro-life groups prevailed with a stricter set of regulations for abortion providers and for women who seek abortions.
These included making an applicant wait at least two weeks before getting an abortion, requiring parental consent for minors seeking abortions, and mandating that doctors ask a woman if she is being coerced into having an abortion.
A number of pro-choice groups have expressed outrage at these provisions as unnecessary restrictions that could endanger women’s health, especially given that they will not be enforced until 2023 when the law goes into effect.
The New Law
The laws have changed in San Marino, to make abortion accessible and safe. Previously, people faced up to three years in prison for having an abortion. A person will now face a lighter sentence, not more than one year in prison if they are found guilty of aborting their child.
This is due to the new law change which came into effect on the 1st of November this year. It is said that there was no reason for the previous legislation as it was not shown to affect public health or morals.
Therefore, it has been amended by Parliament to be in line with other countries legislation on abortions such as Malta, Poland, and Ireland.
🔵National Library Of Medicine (n.d) Abortion Law and Policy Around the World (Available Online):https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5473035/
🔵WebMD(2005-2022) What Are the Types of Abortion Procedures? (Available Online):https://www.webmd.com/women/abortion-procedures
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