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Pro-life group forces vote against easing abortion

Voters will have the final say on a proposal to restrict abortion. Pro-life groups have now collected enough signatures to force a vote on the issue.

The Swiss people are to be called on to vote on restricting abortion. The federal authorities said pro-life groups had gathered 105,001 valid signatures for their initiative, which calls for abortion to be banned except where the life of the expectant mother is in danger. One hundred thousand are necessary to force a nationwide vote.

The initiative was launched by an anti-abortion group, Swiss Aid for the Mother and Child, with the aim of protecting the foetus by law.

Under Swiss law, abortion is currently only available on medical grounds or if the pregnancy is the result of rape. However, most cantons already practice a more liberal policy. There are now about 12,000 abortions a year, and there have been no convictions since 1988.

Parliament is now discussing liberalising the law. The House of Representatives has already agreed to allow abortions on demand during the first 14 weeks of pregnancy. The Senate will discuss the draft law later this year.

From staff and wire reports

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR