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Italian referendum on fertility, stem cells, likely to fail

[JURIST] An Italian referendum [JURIST report] scheduled for June 12-13 on whether to ease the country's restrictive laws concerning fertility treatment and stem cell research and to redefine the legal language that defines the beginning of life at conception seems likely to fail if the latest polls are correct. With the Catholic Church [JURIST report] and conservative politicians urging people not to vote, surveys suggest a likely turnout of only between 30 and 40% of voters, not enough to reach the 50% turnout necessary to make the results binding. It appears, however, that most voters intending to go to the polls would vote to change the current law, which bans embryonic stem cell research, restricts the use of surrogate mothers and sperm donors, and restricts the number of embryos that can be used in pregnancy attempts to 3. The vote was called after backers of stem cell research, women's rights groups and political parties such as the Radical Party [official website, in Italian], gathered enough signatures to prompt a ballot. Bloomberg has more.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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