Croatia anti-abortion lobby not just peddling lies but playing with people’s lives

If a woman searches the internet in Croatia for an abortion clinic the first clinic listed on Google appears to be offering information to women, but is actually part of a nationwide campaign aimed at discouraging women from terminating their pregnancies. The ills that the website claims await the woman who has an abortion are so dire that it’s a miracle there are any healthy women left in Croatia, or the rest of the world for that matter, who haven’t died from cancer or drug addiction or committed suicide. It isn’t funny, it’s actually quite vicious.Officially Croatia is said to have the lowest abortion rate in Europe. It seems, however, that with access to abortion in the public health system becoming more difficult, more and more women are having “unrecorded” abortions in private clinics. Thus, in the region of the world where abortion was first made safe and legal, things are going backwards for women at a frightening pace.Today, according to a Guardian article, although abortions are allowed at public hospitals and one private clinic in Zagreb, of 375 doctors certified to manage abortions, just over half refuse on the basis of a 2003 law that introduced the right to conscientious objection, according to a 2014 report by the ombudsperson for gender equality.The website concerned also refers women to one of several “shelters” for women who have been talked out of having an abortion and are apparently so unready to become mothers that they need a 19th century solution of a roof over their heads in order to survive. “Shelter” can be for upto a year. Being a mother lasts a lifetime. Many leave early. One can only imagine why. The Centre for Social Welfare, the main state welfare body, is said by one such shelter to cooperate with them. Thus, the encroachment of religion in state policy appears to be occurring. What happens to those young women and their children seems to be unknown. But the numbers who are helped are tiny compared to the numbers who have unwanted pregnancies.Unlike in France, in response to a complaint about the website by the ombudsperson for gender equality, Višnja Ljubičić, the interior ministry said in early 2016 that it had found no criminal wrongdoing.SOURCE: The Guardian, by Masenjka Bacic, 30 November 2016 ; CARTOON: Signe Wilkinson, ZnajZnanje Facebook