Junior coalition partners voice opposition to restrictions on abortion

NEWS 10.05.2022 17:54

Dario Hrebak, leader of the Croatian Social-Liberal Party, a junior partner in the ruling coalition, said on Tuesday it was important for changes to the abortion law "not to be restrictive," voicing concern that the initiative to amend the law "offered a topic for discussion to those wishing to ban abortion."

“The Constitutional Court says that the law needs to be amended in terms of prevention and education, so making the law more liberal is not envisaged. What we, as liberals, care about is that are no changes that would result in new restrictions,” Hrebak said, calling for keeping the existing standards.

Hrebak believes that the issue could cause polarization and that those wishing to ban abortion would also come forward, which he considers “a big problem.”

“Those who are now advocating amending the law do not understand that we will jeopardize the existing level of rights because groups will come forward that will exert great pressure to restrict the existing rights,” Hrebak said.

Pupovac: Medical institutions’ work should be aligned with the law 

Milorad Pupovac, leader of the Independent Democratic Serb Party (SDSS), another partner in the ruling coalition, said that the work of medical institutions should be aligned with the law when it comes to the availability of pregnancy termination and that if the law was not applied, the situation should be changed.

The case of Mirela Cavajda has revealed that there are two parallel systems – one based on laws that enable freedom of choice and the other, which has become part of the functioning of health institutions due to the influence that is unlawful, said Pupovac.

That system may be based on certain beliefs or convictions but it is contrary to the Constitution, law and international conventions of which Croatia is a signatory, said Pupovac.

Mayor: New head of clinic solution to problem of conscientious objection

Zagreb Mayor Tomislav Tomasevic said on Tuesday he believed the appointment of Ratko Matijevic as the new head of the Sveti Duh hospital’s clinic for gynaecology and obstetrics would make it possible for all legally allowed pregnancy terminations to be performed at that hospital, founded by the city.

Speaking of the hospital director’s decision to appoint Matijevic as the new head of the clinic, Tomasevic said that collective conscientious objection at Sveti Duh was unacceptable and that Matijevic was the head of the gynaecology ward at Zagreb’s Merkur hospital, where all pregnancy terminations until the 10th week of pregnancy were performed at the patient’s request.

Meanwhile, Vanja Juric, attorney for Mirela Cavajda, a 39-year-old whose unborn baby was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor and whose request for pregnancy termination was rejected by all four Zagreb hospitals where she requested the procedure, said today that Cavajda’s request was approved by a second-instance commission in Slovenia.

The attorney said that it was still not known when the relevant Croatian commission would decide on the case and that Čavajda had still not decided where to undergo pregnancy termination because she was waiting for the decision of Croatian institutions.

It is still not known when a commission of the KBC Zagreb Hospital will meet, and that commission is expected to decide until Friday on Cavajda’s complaint against the hospitals’ refusal to perform pregnancy termination.

A second-instance commission of the KBC Zagreb Hospital today invited Cavajda to undergo another MRI, the attorney said, adding that she would undergo the examination.

Previously, a seven-member commission at the KBC Zagreb Hospital, formed at the request of Health Minister Vili Beros, found that the fetus could be treated and that the pregnancy termination request was therefore unjustified.

Juric said that until the minister’s news conference last Friday neither she nor her client had filed a complaint to the second-instance commission.

The minister activated “his own” commission before the complaint was filed so that commission did not have the mandate to decide on it, Juric said.

“I absolutely believe that Beros’s commission prejudged the decision of the commission of the second instance because they presented their position on the diagnoses before the complaint had been filed. They did not have the right to do so,” said the attorney.


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