MPs say won't allow imposing obligatory pre-abortion counselling

MPs say won't allow imposing obligatory pre-abortion counselling

MPs say won't allow imposing obligatory pre-abortion counselling Izvor: Platforma za reproduktivnu pravdu

MPs of the green-left bloc in the Croatian parliament, Sandra Bencic and Rada Boric, have supported a campaign by the Reproductive Justice Platform, called "10 days of action against erosion of reproductive rights", saying they will not allow the imposing of obligatory pre-abortion counselling.

"We will fight together with women in the parliament, and in the street if necessary, for that to not to happen and for announcements by Health Minister Vili Beros and his helpers from the HDZ and some other parties, not to become a reality," Bencic, a member of the We Can! platform, told reporters outside the parliament.

She stressed that women had allies in the current parliament who would fight to prevent the new law on abortion from being worse than the one still in force, which dates back to the 1970's.

Bencic said they would push for women to have access to counselling and information but would not allow the imposing of obligatory pre-abortion counselling "as if women had diminished mental capacity."

Boric, a member of the New Left party, said counselling would not change a woman's decision regarding abortion but would prolong the trauma and negatively affect her mental health.

She said that the institute of conscientious objection was the main problem because as many as 60% of gynaecologists were conscientious objectors, while in neighbouring Slovenia only 3% of gynaecologists were conscientious objectors.

She resented taht Minister Beros had during an interview implied in advance what the new abortion law would look like without public consultation having been held first.

Boric recalled that there were towns where women cannot obtain the medical service of abortion.

"We want abortion to stay legal but also for it to be free, as well as accessible in terms of the abolishment of conscientious objection, we want women to have the possibility of medical abortion, and every woman to have a primary gynaecologist and their offices to be adapted to persons with disabilities," said Petra Karmelic of the Reproductive Justice Platform.

The average price of an assisted pregnancy termination in Croatia is HRK 2,500, which makes that health service a privilege for women who can afford it, she said.

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