Croatian Constitutional Court reaffirms constitutionality of abortion rights

The Constitutional Court of Croatia reaffirmed the constitutionality of access to abortion on 2 March 2017. The decision rejects claims made by conservative groups and individuals that allowing women access to abortion on request was unconstitutional. In its decision, the Court reaffirmed that women’s access to abortion is protected under their constitutional rights to liberty, personality, and privacy.

The Center for Reproductive Rights and the Center for Education, Counselling and Research submitted amicus briefs to the Court that explain how international human rights law, comparative European law and international public health and clinical standards support women’s right to access safe and legal abortion.

Croatian legislation on abortion, adopted in 1978, allows abortion on request within the first 10 weeks of pregnancy and thereafter when a pregnancy is the result of a crime, if there is a risk to a woman’s health or life, and in cases of severe fetal impairment. The Court ruled that by allowing women’s access to abortion in these circumstances, the law gives effect to women’s constitutional rights to privacy, liberty, and personality and complies with international human rights law and comparative European law. As the 1978 law predated the current Croatian Constitution, the Court requested that the Croatian Parliament adopt new legislation within two years.

SOURCES: Center for Reproductive Rights, 2 March 2017, in Astra CEE Bulletin on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, April 2017 ; PHOTO

Photo translation: Quality: more important than the birth rate / A woman is a person, not an incubator