Friday, September 16, 2011
Prince Promised to Veto Abortion Law
Hereditary Prince Alois of Liechtenstein, where Catholicism is the state religion, said he would exercise his veto if the people favor a referendum to legalize abortion in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, or if the child is severely disabled.
Alois said the proposed law change could lead to late-term abortions of disabled children: “Until now we have been proud to support people with disabilities in our country. The proposal would discriminate against such people and allow them to be eliminated in the womb.”
Helen Konzett, who helped gather the 1,500 signatures necessary to call the vote, which is slated for Sept. 18, said, “We think fewer people will vote because they’ll ask themselves what’s the point. It really is an attempt to actively influence the referendum.”
Even opponents of the measure are uneasy about a prospective princely veto. “I don’t think it’s good for the referendum,” said Adolf Heeb, chairman of the Patriotic Union party whose lawmakers rejected the proposal in parliament in June. “It would have been better if he had made his decision after the vote.”
Women in Liechtenstein face a one-year imprisonment for having an abortion. The only exemptions include cases where the mother’s life is in danger, or the girl is under 14 at the time of the pregnancy. Doctors who perform abortions can go to prison for three years. Although, the law is rarely applied anymore, an estimated two cases have been brought forward in the past 20 years.
Silvia Hassler-De Vos, a spokeswoman for the prince, said he wanted to send a clear signal that abortion isn’t an acceptable solution for an unwanted pregnancy, and the situation of women with unwanted pregnancies needs to be significantly improved.
Alois would be the first prince to use his veto since his grandfather, Franz Joseph II, blocked a revision of the country’s hunting laws three decades ago.
at 12:28 PM