With the outcry for tightening abortion laws in the USA, people forget that abortions are banned in several small European states. Liechtenstein lager beer to Switzerland and Austria.
With its decision, the Supreme Court caused worldwide indignation. Abortion is no longer one of the basic rights for all American women, but is regulated differently from state to state.
While abortions are allowed in most Western European countries up to a certain point in time, several micro-states are giving way. Abortions are banned in Malta, and permitted in Monaco and Andorra only if there is a risk to the mother or if the child was raped. San Marino voted to legalize abortion in a historic fall referendum. So far, the women face up to three years in prison.
In Liechtenstein the situation is a little different. So will here Doctors who prescribe abortions are sentenced to between one and three years in prison. If women carry out the abortion themselves or have it done by someone without medical training, they too face a prison sentence of up to one year.
Should women be allowed to have abortions?
An abortion is permitted if the life of the mother is in danger, the child was born by rape or the mother was underage at the time of conception.
How many people have been reported in the past ten years? Ivana Ritter from the Ministry of Infrastructure and Justice says about blue News: «In 2013 and 2015, one procedure was initiated for the misdemeanor of abortion, in 2014 there were two procedures. There was no conviction in any of these proceedings.”
In 2015 there was a change in the Penal Code, which no longer punishes women but doctors for abortions. Since then there has been no further procedure.
Gabriella Alvarez-Hummel is vocally opposed to this legislation. Born in Liechtenstein, she hasn’t lived in the “country” as she calls it for some time, but in Zurich. She greets her around 25,000 followers on Instagram with the sentence: “Hello, I’m Gabi, did you know that abortions are illegal in Liechtenstein?”
Alvarez-Hummel was in Argentina two years ago when abortion was legalized there. There was a certain folk festival atmosphere. “I realized how absurd the ban in Liechtenstein is.” From then on she no longer wanted to accept this and is fighting for liberalisation. “As a Liechtensteiner abroad, I dare more.”
In 2021, abortions were discussed 17 times
One concentrates on the counseling of women and takes no position on the public debate, says the managing director of Schwanger.li. This is a counseling center operated by the foundation of the same name. It is presided over by Hereditary Princess Sophie of Liechtenstein.
“No pregnant woman should be forced to have an abortion or be in any other emergency due to poor conditions,” the princess is quoted on the website.
Schwanger.li focuses on general advice on health and family matters and is also active in Switzerland and Austria. The 2021 annual report states that almost 50 pregnancy counseling sessions were held in the Principality and about the same number of legal counseling sessions. Abortions, or as the report euphemistically calls “pregnancy conflicts”, were discussed 17 times in the year in question.
Many foreign women abort in Graubünden
How many women travel to Switzerland or Austria to have an abortion is difficult to determine. In the case of abortions, the Swiss Federal Statistical Office only records whether the person’s place of residence is in Switzerland or abroad, as a spokeswoman for blue News says.
However, compared with the figures from similar cantons – such as the canton of Obwalden with around 38,000 inhabitants – it can be concluded that there are 20 to 30 abortions in Liechtenstein every year. The rate of abortions by women resident abroad in the cantons of eastern Switzerland is interesting. While other cantons have a value of 1 to 2 percent, it is 4 percent in eastern Switzerland. In the canton of Graubünden it is even 10.
Referendum reinforced Prince’s back
Liechtenstein apparently outsources its abortions to Switzerland and Austria. According to the Ministry of Infrastructure and Justice, doctors are permitted by law to pass on the addresses of pregnancy institutes. Eleven years ago, voters had the chance to change that. At that time, the residents voted with 52 to 48 percent of the votes in favor of maintaining the ban on abortion and against the “Help instead of punishment” bill launched by Helen Konzett of the Left Party Freie Liste.
If the vote was yes, the prince would have exercised his right of veto, as he communicated in advance, so many considered the election to be useless. to SRF Konzett a few years ago that the situation was bigoted, because abortions could not be prevented.
“If a vote were to take place today, there would certainly be a majority against the ban,” says Alvarez-Hummel. So neither she nor her family would get negative reactions. “But the hereditary prince would still threaten his veto today, which is probably the reason why nothing is moving politically.”