SAN MARino – Pope Francis reiterated Monday that abortion is “murder”, one day after the small republic of San Marino became the last Catholic country to legalize the procedure, sparking applause from women’s rights groups.
An overwhelming majority – 77 percent of the 14,384 votes cast on Sunday in the small town surrounded by Italy – are in favor of making abortion legal in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Abortion is also legal later if the woman’s life is in danger or if her physical or mental health is at risk due to fetal abnormalities or malformations.
Only 41 percent of those entitled voted, but a quorum was not necessary and only 3,265 of the 33,000 residents of San Marino voted “no”.
The Catholic Church has strongly opposed this measure. The Vatican believes that human life begins at conception and that all forms of life must be protected from conception to natural death.
Pope Francis reiterated this position on Monday during a previously scheduled meeting with the Vatican Bioethics Academy. He denounced a culture of “exclusion” that makes abortion appear “normal”.
“There is a waste of children that we don’t want to host,” he said. “It’s really a murder.”
Valentina Rossi, member of the Union of Samaritan women and promoter of the referendum, said that the result of the vote “went well beyond the rosiest expectations”. It showed that individual voters were capable of making a decision that politicians in the republic had refused to make for decades, even as Italy and other European countries made abortion legal, he said.
The San Marino parliament must now draft a bill to legalize the procedure, and the proponents have called for legislation that provides adequate reproductive health services for all women.
“With this step we have managed to improve that most of the citizens are with us and that San Marino will have to introduce an appropriate law sooner or later,” said Rossi. “in the last!”
San Marino, one of the oldest republics in the world, was one of the last European countries to criminalize abortion again. With Sunday’s result, it now joins other predominantly Catholic countries such as Ireland, which legalized abortion in 2018 and Italy, where abortion has been legal since 1978. Abortion remains illegal in Malta and Andorra , and Poland has imposed an almost total ban on abortion. action this year.
Giacomo Volbinari, from San Marino, said the vote was historic and demonstrated the power of the referendum to change course.
“Where politics cannot, it is the people who have chosen to get out of the medieval situation that San Marino has had for centuries,” he said.
Winfield reported from Rome.