Abortion and euthanasia referendums

Abortion and euthanasia key topics in Italy and San Marino


On Sunday, the people of San Marino voted to decriminalise abortion. The Yes vote received 77.28% of the vote. Petition for referendum on euthanasia in Italy has a million signatures already. In the Vatican City, the Pope decried abortion and euthanasia as being part of a culture of waste and death.

Without opinion polls as a guideline, no one wanted to call the San Marino referendum result beforehand.

Strong Church influence in San Marino

The influence of the Catholic Church remains strong in San Marino. Last week, Pope Francis reiterated his position that abortion is “murder”.

Opposition to decriminalising abortion was led by the ruling Christian Democratic Party. The party has close ties to the Catholic Church and called for a “No” vote to “defend the right to life”.

But its deputy secretary Manuel Ciavatta had told AFP before the referendum that his party, which has just over a third of MPs, would respect the result. “The population is very divided on the issue.” he said.

Campaigners want swift change to law

After the result, campaigners for the change wanted swift action in parliament. “It’s a clear victory,” campaigner Vanessa Muratori told local television. “We are now waiting for a law to match the results.”

Currently, abortion carries a penalty of up to three years in prison for the woman and six years for the doctor who conducts the procedure. However, nobody has ever been convicted. Women who choose to have an abortion typically cross into Italy, where it has been legal for more than 40 years.

Pope speaks out against abortion and euthanasia

Yesterday, Pope Francis again decried abortion and euthanasia as being part of a culture of waste and death.

Speaking to 100 participants in the 2-day general assembly of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life, Francis lamented today’s culture of waste which does away with babies with abortion, Vatican News reported. This has become a “normal” habit, which is very ugly and “really a murder”.

The Pope posed the questions: “Is it right to eliminate, to take a human life to solve a problem? Is it right to hire a hitman to solve a problem? That’s what abortion is.”

The Pope also spoke about the elderly, whom he said some regard as “waste material”, because they are of no use. However, he said they are roots of wisdom, which this civilisation discards.

He denounced what he described as the law of “hidden” euthanasia, which shortens the life of the elderly who are provided only half the medicines, arguing they are expensive.

Catholic academics, universities and hospitals, the Pope said, cannot walk the road of “waste”. The Pope also appealed to countries like Italy with free universal health care “never to lose it”.

Possible euthanasia referendum

The Italian Bishops Council (CEI) on Monday voiced dismay at a planned referendum on making euthanasia possible in the Italian judicial system. It “arouses grave disquiet”, said the CEI.

Over one million people have signed a petition calling for a referendum on legalising euthanasia in Italy, the right-to-die Luca Coscioni association said last week. That is more than double the 500,000 signatures needed to be able to present the petition to the Supreme Court. There are two weeks to go to the deadline.

The association said 640,621 signatures were collected on paper at stands around the country. A further 372,000 registered online with digital signatures.

The CEI also highlighted the inequalities brought about by the covid-19 pandemic. It said the wounds were deep and inequalities must be reduced.

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