Croatian MEP Biljana Borzan (SDP) commented on fears that the new abortion bill could restrict women's rights in her appearance in N1's weekly round-up show on Sunday (March 25).
Borzan was asked what her expectations were for the upcoming abortion bill prepared by the ruling centre-right Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), especially in light of recent protests by conservative groups supported by the Catholic Church opposing the ratification of the Istanbul Convention on violence against women.
“I believe there will be some pressures. Everyone who opposed the (Istanbul) Convention probably don’t even see it as a problem, what they see is a political niche (to exploit). Something similar will probably happen with the abortion bill. I believe that even in the Croatian democratic Union (HDZ) there is a majority of sensible people who will not support ending rights that women already have. Of course, no woman is happy when she has to have an abortion, and there is no one arguing abortion should be used as a family planning method. But, if it happens, women must be allowed to do it safely. What I would love to see in the bill, though, is regulation regarding doctors who are conscientious objectors. We have situations (today) where having an abortion is allowed, but doctors refuse to perform it. If you want to specialise gynaecology, you have to make up your mind if you can do this or not. If you can’t, then don’t go into gynaecology. There are other areas of medicine free of ethical dilemmas like that,” Borzan said.
The new bill should replace the existing law on abortion by March 2019, on order by a 2017 Supreme Court ruling.
“If a woman decides she will have an abortion, then she will have it. Maybe in a hospital setting, in sterile conditions, or maybe by some quack, or in a private medical practice by a gynaecologist who at the same time conscientiously objects in his day job at a hospital, but has no problem doing abortions in his private practice,” Borzan added.