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San Marino residents voted in a referendum to lift a total ban on abortion in the micro-state’s eponymous capital on Sunday.
Voters were queueing inside the polling stations to cast their vote on the issue, after the referendum was initiated by a signature collection conducted by the San Marino Women’s Union.
The small state with a population of 33,000 remains one of the last European countries to completely ban abortion, forcing women to go to Italy instead and pay a fee for the termination of their pregnancy.
Opponents, among them catholic groups and anti-abortion activists, and supporters held weeks of tense campaigning ahead of the vote that decides whether abortion up to 12 weeks of pregnancy should be allowed.
“We are 43 years behind and now the time has come for San Marino citizens to finally legislate on this fundamental right of women, for the self-determination of their own bodies," said a resident outside of the polling station.
"Nothing and no one, in my opinion, should come between a woman and her life," said another voter.
Under the current law getting an abortion in the landlocked state could lead to between three and six years in prison. The Sammarinese Christian Democratic Party leading the country recommended voting against the legalisation, as has the influential Catholic Church.
SOT, Resident (Italian): "This referendum being held today in San Marino to decriminalise the voluntary interruption of pregnancy is very important for us, it is an epoch-making referendum. San Marino, despite being in the heart of Italy, has never had a law like Law 194, which was passed in Italy in 1978. We are 43 years behind and now the time has come for San Marino citizens to finally legislate on this fundamental right of women, for the self-determination of their own bodies."
SOT, Residents (Italian): "Nothing and no one, in my opinion, should come between a woman and her life."
SOT, Resident (Italian): "This referendum is important for the simple fact that the freedom of every single woman must be free."
SOT, Resident (Italian): "The referendum on abortion is important because there are conflicting opinions. In my opinion, we should not decide on the life of another person, and if this life exists, it should be lived."
Video ID: 20210926-031
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