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Italians head to polls to vote on fertility legislation

[JURIST] Italians began voting at 8 AM Rome time Sunday in referendums [referendum questions on ballot] to lessen the limitations on existing legislation on fertility treatment and stem cell research. Pre-referendum polls [JURIST report] predicted that the referendum would fail, suggesting that only 30-40% of voters would show up, when at least 50% are necessary in order for the referendum to be valid. Four hours into the voting, the Italian Interior Ministry [official website] estimated that 4.5% of eligible voters had cast their ballots based on information received from 100 out of the 110 Italian provinces. By 10 PM some 18% had voted [Interior Ministry figures]. Polls will reopen Monday at 7 AM for the final day of voting. The referendum has been a focus of bitter intense debate [JURIST report] between the Vatican [official website], which has urged Catholic voters to abstain, and Italy's Radical Party [website in Italian] who say the current law is anti-women and anti-research. Read an Italy Magazine analysis [in Italian] of the referendum situation; the Italian Interior Ministry hosts the official referendum website [in Italian]. AP has more.

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