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referendums

San Marino residents vote overwhelmingly to legalize abortion

In San Marino, about 77 percent of voters approved a referendum proposal on Sunday making abortion legal in the country.

San Marino is a republic surrounded by Italy, home to about 33,000 people. The proposal calls for making abortion legal in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, or later if a woman's life is in danger, and now that it has passed, San Marino's Parliament must draft a bill legalizing the procedure, The Associated Press reports.

A majority Catholic state, San Marino criminalized abortion in 1865, and the referendum was set for Sunday after 3,000 people signed a petition to overturn the law. Abortion has been legal in Italy since 1978, and women in San Marino in need of the procedure usually cross the border. Sara Casadei was part of the campaign in support of the measure, and she told AP she backed it "for the simple reason that it seemed right that women have a choice and aren't forced to go somewhere else, but to have the services on our own territory."

The Catholic Church opposed the measure, with the bishop of San Marino, Monsignor Andrea Turazzi, telling Vatican News it is "inconceivable that a mother resorts to abortion because of some economic troubles."