On December 21, 2021, two federal popular initiatives to protect human life were introduced by two SVP national councilors Andrea Martina Geissbühler (Berne) and Yvette Estermann (Lucerne).
One is entitled ‘The Night Brings Advice – For a Day of Reflection Before Every Abortion’ and the other ‘Save Viable Babies! – To protect viable babies outside the womb.” Her goal is to reduce the number of abortions in Switzerland. Since 2014, various motions and interpellations have been tabled by UDC parliamentarians in the Bundesrat office.
Most of these texts concerned information and advice for pregnant women (Erich von Siebenthal and Franz Ruppen) or measures to reduce the number of abortions (Verena Herzog). Yvette Estermann, on the other hand, aimed for late abortions, i.e. those that are carried out after the 12th week.
Faced with the federal executive branch’s inaction – even reluctance – to address this painful problem, national advisers have launched two popular initiatives. The first initiative wants to introduce a period of reflection before every abortion, the second is directed against the practice of late abortion. The collection of signatures ends on June 21, 2023.
In 2014, Verena Herzog called for a three-day reflection period before every abortion. Her motion was canceled in 2016. Your concern at the time is now being addressed with the popular initiative.”La nuit porte conseil‘ (Night is the mother of advice, or ‘sleep on it’).
Waiting 24 hours before deciding to cancel seems minimal. There is already a reflection period in 18 European countries. In Switzerland, this reflection period could reduce the number of abortions by around 10%, i.e. over 1000 per year.
Every year in Switzerland between 400 and 500 abortions are performed after the 12th week of pregnancy.
Yvette Estermann found that the decision to have a late termination is in most cases based on the discovery of an illness or malformation in the unborn child, such as genetic anomalies or even slight physical deformities. Sometimes abortions are performed for lesions that could be operated on before or after birth. Also, most fetuses with trisomy 21 are eliminated through late abortion, even though they would be viable.
The Bioethics News Site Genethique emphasizes: “The duty of society to prevent abortion and to guarantee the right to non-abortion rests on three general principles: the duty to protect the family, the duty to protect motherhood and the duty to protect human life. This obligation has been formalized in international and European law and represents a positive obligation for states.”
In this context, the Swiss Catholic website demands that the parents concerned must be fully and precisely informed about the possibility of misdiagnosis and the risks of abortion. Only then can mothers or parents make an informed decision. In Switzerland, a hundred babies could survive every year.
Our Lord taught us: “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did to one of these least of these my brothers, you did to me” (Mt 25:40).