Sep 26, 2021 - World

San Marino legalizes abortion, undoing centuries old ban

Pro-abortion activists put up posters at the start of the campaign on September 9, 2021 in San Marino

Pro-abortion activists put up posters at the start of the campaign on Sept. 9, 2021, in San Marino. Photo: Brigitte Hagemann/AFP via Getty Images

A sweeping 77% of voters in San Marino's elections on Sunday voted to approve a referendum to legalize abortion in the country, AP reports.

Why it matters: This makes San Marino — a tiny, landlocked country folded into central Italy — the latest majority Catholic nation to legalize the procedure. San Marino was one of the last countries in Europe to have a total abortion ban, per the Guardian.

  • The procedure was punishable with up to 3-6 years in prison, notes the Guardian.

The big picture: Abortion will now be legal for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, or in cases thereafter in which the mother's life is in danger or if her "physical or psychological health" is in danger due to fetal anomalies or malformations, AP reports.

  • It now joins the ranks of majority Catholic countries like Ireland, which legalized abortion in 2018, and Italy, where it has been legal since 1978.
  • But abortion remains illegal in Poland, Malta and Andorra, per AP.
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