by Steven Ertelt
June 7, 2006
Bern, Switzerland (LifeNews.com) — At least five health insurance companies in Switzerland are providing discounts for women who avoid having abortions or submitting to in-vitro fertilization. The insurance companies provide the discounts through a partnership with a pro-life group there.
Since 2004 the insurance agencies have had a program set up with the Swiss Aid for Mother and Child, a pro-life group.
Thousands of people have signed the special contracts with the company to get a discount for not having abortions. The insurance agencies offer a discount of as much as 10 to 40 percent off the standard premiums.
Josef Zisyadis, national adviser of the Popular Workers Party, complained about the practice and advised the Swiss government to curb it.
However, the Federal Council said it would not intervene in the insurance arrangements and urged the National Council, the parliament’s largest chamber, to reject Zisyadis’ motion, according to a Zenit report.
In March 2001, the Swiss National Council voted to legalize abortion up to the 12 week of pregnancy. Abortions can also be done after 12 weeks into pregnancy for various health reasons.
In June 2002, Swiss voters went to the polls to vote on the abortion legalization as well as a pro-life proposal and some 72 percent of voters backed making abortion legal.
"We are extremely disappointed," said Barbara Guepfert, from Swiss Aid for Mother and Child, after the vote.
"The unborn child will no longer be protected and women in a distressing situation will be on their own."
Prior to the vote, abortion in Switzerland has been regulated by the 1942 penal code. According to articles 118-121 of this code, abortion is a criminal offense unless it is done by a doctor to save the woman’s life or in order to avoid risk of severe and lasting damage to the woman’s health.
As in the United States, Switzerland has interpreted health to mean allowing an abortion for just about any reason. The pre-2002 abortion ban was largely ignored and no one doing an abortion was prosecuted.
Swiss voters rejected efforts in the 1970s and the 1980s to legalize abortion.