LIECHTENSTEIN, September 19, 2011 ( – Voters in the tiny European country of Liechtenstein have rejected a proposal to legalize abortion in the first 12 weeks and in cases of fetal deformity.

In a Sunday referendum, 52.3% voted to affirm article 27 of the nation’s constitution, which states that “everyone has the right to life.”

The proposal, which claimed to “help rather than punish” women who choose to have their unborn children killed, had already been voted down by the nation’s parliament in a 25-7 vote earlier this year.

It was also opposed by Alois of Liechtenstein, the nation’s hereditary prince, who exercises some degree of governing authority under his father, Hans Adam II, Prince of Liechtenstein.

Under current law, abortions performed in Liechtenstein or performed on citizens outside of Liechtenstein is punishable by up to one year in prison.

Liechtenstein is one of only a handful of European countries that continue to prohibit most abortions, including Ireland, Malta, and Poland. 

The country has been under pressure by the United Nations’ Committee for the Elimination of all Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) to decriminalize abortion and promote “family planning” since at least 2007.

Fr. Shenan J. Boquet, president of Human Life International, praised the pro-life victory on Monday.  HLI’s European branch had helped lead a campaign that involved mailing pro-life flyers to every household in Liechtenstein.

“Against mounting international pressure both from the European Union and the United Nations, the people of Liechtenstein voted to protect life, and embrace their traditional Catholic culture and faith, with the rejection of this referendum,” said Fr. Boquet. “That this referendum specifically targeted babies with disabilities was deplorable, and we are very happy that life will continue to be protected in Liechtenstein.”

“This victory is yet another example of the people of Europe embracing their faith and the protection of human life as seen in Hungary, Poland and even Russia this past year,” said Fr. Boquet. “HLI will continue to oppose the radical EU and UN agenda to destroy the dignity of human life in Europe and around the world.”