Italian voters reject move to end abortion

First returns from a national referendum indicated that Italians had overwhelmingly rejected a move to overturn Italy's liberal abortion law. Pope John Paul II has spoken out frequently on the issue, denouncing abortion as murder. But neither his influence nor sympathy stemming from the attempt on his life was apparently enough to sway the electorate.

Voters were also rejecting referendums to abolish virtually all legal controls on abortions, to abolish the right of Italians to carry firearms with licenses, to end strengthened police detention rights aimed at cracking down on urban guerrillas, and to abolish the penalty of life imprisonment without any remission.

About 76 percent of Italy's voters took part in the referendums.

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