Abortion in Liechtenstein

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Abortion in Liechtenstein is illegal in almost all circumstances and is punishable by prison terms for the woman and the physician. An attempt to legalize it in 2011 was defeated by voters. In April and November 2012, the Landtag failed to advance proposals to relax abortion laws.[1][2]

Section 96 of the Liechtenstein Penal Code, 1987, provides that abortion is illegal except in cases of serious danger to the woman's life or health that can only be prevented with a termination or when the woman was under the age of 14 at the time of conception and unmarried to the man who impregnated her. Illegal abortions are punishable by prison terms of up to three years for the physician and up to one year for the woman. Section 98 of the Penal Code additionally criminalizes performing or encouraging an abortion without a careful inquiry into its medical necessity as well as any type of promotion of abortion services.[3][4]

In the double referendum on abortion on 27 November 2005, 81% of voters rejected a "For Life" proposal to prohibit all abortion, while 80% passed the Landtag's counterproposal, which had been condemned by anti-abortion campaigners.[5][6][7][8]

A proposal to legalize abortion in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy or when the child would be disabled was defeated by 52.3% of voters in the 2011 referendum held on 18 September.[9] Prince Alois had previously threatened to veto the proposal if it passed. [10][11]

Women in Liechtenstein who choose to have an abortions must cross the border to either Switzerland or Austria to have the procedure carried out legally.[12] Women must also travel to those countries to obtain advice on their options, as they face the threat of prosecution at home.[13] It is estimated that approximately 50 women a year have abortions, either illegally in Liechtenstein or abroad in either Switzerland or Austria.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Schwangerschaftsabbruch: Status quo unverändert" [Abortion: Status quo unaltered]. Vaterland (in German). 26 April 2012. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
  2. ^ "Schwangerschaftsabbruch ist noch nicht vom Tisch" [Abortion is not yet on the table]. Vaterland (in German). 6 November 2012. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
  3. ^ "LIECHTENSTEIN. Penal Code, 24 June 1987. (Liechtensteinisches Landesgesetzblatt, No. 37, 22 October 1988, pp. 1-125.)". 22 October 1988. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
  4. ^ Abortion Policies: A Global Review (DOC). 1. United Nations Population Division. 2002. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
  5. ^ "Liechtenstein, 27. November 2005 : "Für das Leben" mit Gegenvorschlag". Search Engine for Direct Democracy (in German). 20 June 2010. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
  6. ^ Nohlen, Dieter; Stöver, Philip (2010). Elections in Europe: A data handbook. Nomos. p. 1177. ISBN 978-3-8329-5609-7.
  7. ^ "Defying Church, Voters Endorse Abortion Law". Los Angeles Times. 28 November 2005. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
  8. ^ Rosenbaum, Harry (28 November 2005). "Voters defeat restrictive initiative". Associated Press. Archived from the original on 7 July 2013. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
  9. ^ "Liechtenstein, 18. September 2011 : Fristenlösung beim Schwangerschaftsabbruch". Search Engine for Direct Democracy (in German). 28 September 2011. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
  10. ^ Zeldin, Wendy (27 September 2011). "Liechtenstein: No to Legalized Abortion". Global Legal Monitor. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
  11. ^ "Liechtenstein rejects plan to legalize abortion". Associated Press. 18 September 2011. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
  12. ^ Meo, Nick (30 June 2012). "Prince of Liechtenstein threatens to leave after vote on his powers". The Telegraph.
  13. ^ Zeldin, Wendy (31 January 2012). "No to Legalized Abortion for women in Liechtenstein". Women Fitness.
  14. ^ "Liechtenstein votes not to legalise abortion". The Local. 19 September 2011.