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Poll shows strong support for legalising abortion

German- and French-speaking areas gave strong backing to the government initiative

(swissinfo.ch)

With two weeks to go until a nationwide vote on the issue, a new poll shows continuing strong support for moves to legalise abortion.

The poll, commissioned by the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation - which owns swissinfo - found that 63 percent of voters were in favour of a government-backed initiative to legalise abortion within 12 weeks of conception. A similar poll last month recorded 64 percent in favour.

Twenty-four percent of the 1,255 people polled said they would vote against the initiative on June 2, while 13 percent were undecided.

The survey was carried out by the GfS Research Institute between May 13 and 17.

The current abortion law - which dates from 1942 - makes it illegal for a woman to have a termination unless her life is in danger. Despite that 13,000 abortions are carried out in the country every year.

Respondents were less enthusiastic about a counter-proposal, put forward by pro-life groups, which is being voted on at the same time. That initiative would severely restrict abortion under all but the most extreme circumstances.

Thirty-one percent said they would vote in favour of the "For Mother and Child" initiative - two percent less than in the earlier poll. Fifty-seven percent were against the counter-proposal.

The latest survey showed little change in the cantonal breakdown of support for legalising abortion. Both German- and French-speaking areas gave strong backing to the government initiative.

But voters in the Italian-speaking canton of Ticino remain to be convinced by the pro-abortion argument. Forty-two percent of respondents in the southern canton said they would vote for legalising abortion, with 41 percent voting against.

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