The National Council refuses to regulate abortion more severely

The number of abortions performed after the 12th week of pregnancy is low in Switzerland. The National Council has largely buried two UDC motions which wanted to frame them even more strictly. Each year, between 400 and 500 abortions are performed after the 12th week of pregnancy. According to Yvette Estermann (UDC / LU), it is already too much. Because these abortions are a great ordeal for pregnant women, their partners and their families, and for the professionals involved.

According to his text, doctors and paediatricians should have informed parents extensively, so that they can make the right decision, in particular on the possibilities of living with a malformation or the existing post-birth treatments and operations. Pediatric pathologists would also have been required to confirm or refute, after any abortion and any birth of a live or stillborn child, all disabilities diagnosed in utero.

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Already two initiatives

The abortion rate in Switzerland is generally low, recalled the Minister of Health Alain Berset. Of a total of 10,457 abortions in 2018, only 528 (5%) were performed after the 12th week of pregnancy. These abortions are strictly supervised. Information from doctors about alternatives and the risks involved is already mandatory.

On a vote, the motion was defeated by 132 votes to 36 with 13 abstentions. The People’s Chamber immediately buried another UDC motion on the subject on a similar score. Bernese Erich von Siebenthal asked the Federal Council to improve the advice given to pregnant women who have health problems and who are considering an abortion. The supply is already sufficient and there is no need to act in this area, repeated Federal Councilor Alain Berset.

The national-conservative party seems to want to put the issue of abortion back at the center of public debate. In December, the two national councilors Andrea Geissbühler (UDC/BE) and Yvette Estermann (UDC/LU) announced the launch of two popular initiatives on the subject. The first wants to introduce a one-day reflection period before any termination of pregnancy. The second opposes the “shocking” practice of late abortions. She wants to grant unborn babies an absolute right to life from the moment they could survive and breathe outside their mother’s womb, in a similar way to premature babies. According to the initiators, a hundred babies could thus survive each year.

Read also: In Switzerland too, the right to abortion is going through turbulence

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