Swiss bid to ban abortion

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iol pic wld Philippines Contraceptives AP An anti-abortion sign flashes on the electronic board.

Geneva - Swiss pro-lifers launched an initiative Tuesday to ban abortions in the country for economic reasons, saying the practice costs hundreds of billions in lost tax revenues.

The “Protect life to remedy the loss of billions” initiative was launched by an independent group which needs to gather more than 100 000 signatures by August 2014 for the issue to be put to a referendum.

It charges that Switzerland's about 11 000 abortions each year deprive the country's economy of hundreds of billions in lost income taxes and consumption.

“Each unconceived and unborn child will never be able to contribute a single franc to our national income, will never become a consumer, will never be able to contribute to our social institutions,” it says on its website.

It calculates that if the more than 100,000 foetuses aborted in Switzerland over the past decade had been born, grown up and worked for 45 years, they would have contributed nearly 334 billion Swiss francs ($359 billion, 274 billion euros) to the country's GDP.

And, as consumers, the same 100,000 people would over 80 years pump more than 324 billion Swiss francs into the country's economy, it says.

The group, which also aims to ban assisted suicide and stem-cell research, quotes the Bible to justify its positions.

The Swiss should “once again found families, make children, raise them and give them a good education,” it says, stressing that women should have at least three children each and speaking against contraception.

“Too many women are slaves to the pill,” it says.

Another move is under way to try to block most health insurance reimbursements for abortions.

The necessary 100 000 signatures for that initiative were handed over in July 2011 and the two houses of parliament are discussing the text.

In Switzerland it usually takes at least three years from the time such initiatives gather the necessary signatures until they are submitted to popular vote.

Switzerland decriminalised abortions carried out in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy in 2002.

The country has one of the lowest abortion rates in the world, with only 6.4 abortions for every 1 000 women between the ages of 15 and 44. - Sapa-AFP

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