Last week in Switzerland a clear majority of voters (69.8%) rejected a conservative initiative that aimed at limiting equal access to abortion. The proposed initiative would have excluded abortions from the healthcare reimbursement plan, making greater barriers to women and girls, especially women with limited economic means. All women should have access to reproductive health care, including pregnancy terminations, regardless of their economic status. However, discriminative restrictions on reimbursement plans make abortion services an unavailable choice for many low-income women, creating further inequality.
Last week’s pro choice victory reaffirms the vote of 2002, when the overwhelming majority of Swiss voters supported a change in the legislation. This granted women abortion on request within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy and later in pregnancy for medical reasons.
By rejecting the conservative initiative, Swiss voters have shown that they will not accept any backward steps when it comes to women’s rights and reproductive health.