Council of Europe Commissar Tries to Halt Slovakia Abortion Ultrasound Bill
NEW YORK, December 6 (C-Fam) A pro-life Slovak bill requiring mothers to see an ultrasound of their babies before an abortion provoked blistering condemnations from Council of Europe officials and abortion groups last week.
Last Friday, Slovakia’s parliament debated a bill requiring doctors to show mothers an ultrasound of their unborn baby and hear the baby’s heartbeat before performing an abortion. The bill, the first of its kind in Europe, was attacked as a human rights violation by abortion groups and Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović.
“I call on the National Council of the Slovak Republic to reject this legislative proposal and any other legislative proposals that could limit women’s access to their sexual and reproductive rights,” the Serbian commissioner wrote in a scathing a letter to Slovak parliamentarians.
Mijatović’s letter cites the non-binding views of UN treaty bodies and the recommendations contained in World Health Organization publications, as well as a Council of Europe guideline on sexual and reproductive health, in support of her contention that abortion is a human right.
Freedom of Choice abortion campaigner Paula Jojart told Reuters that the Slovak Parliament should not even be allowed to debate the measure claiming that abortion “is a human rights issue.”
“It should not be negotiated by the public polls or by public opinion,” she reportedly said.
Jojart was among the organizers of a rally last week to protest the bill. The U.S.-funded media group Transitions reported that the rally was sparsely attended compared to a pro-life rally demanding a complete ban on abortion earlier this year. Organizers of the pro-life rally said their event was attended by 50,000 Slovaks.
Claims that abortion is an international right are based on expansive reading of international law and UN agreements. No binding treaty mentions any obligations for nations pertaining to abortion, and UN policy casts abortion in a negative light.
Currently, Slovakian law allows mothers to abort their babies until the twelfth week of pregnancy without any restrictions, and only in limited circumstances after the first trimester.
Slovakia is a mostly Catholic and socially conservative country. Since 2006, its regime has been socialist. In order to stay in power, the leftist government has had to make promises to conservatives especially on social policy. It recently promised to define marriage as the union of a man and a woman in the Slovak constitution. Slovakia does not allow civil unions for same-sex couples.
Sponsors described the pro-life bill as a measure to strengthen marriage and the family and dissuade women from going through with abortion, since “society does not consider the induced termination of pregnancy a good solution.” The bill also includes a prohibition on advertisements for abortion.
The introduction of this latest bill follows the failure of four pro-life bills in the Slovak legislature in September this year that would have restricted abortion further and provided social assistance to mothers who turned down abortion.