SLOVAKIA – Difficulties linger in accessing legal abortion in Slovakia
As many as a third of all hospitals and medical facilities surveyed refuse to provide legal abortions on the grounds of conscientious objection, according to a study by the feminist organisation Possibility of Choice.
Due to conscientious objection, individuals can refuse to perform certain medical procedures based on their religious or personal beliefs. However, no legal norm states that entire medical facilities can exercise conscientious objection. In addition to hospitals, pharmacies often refer to it when refusing to sell hormonal contraception to women.
Several hospitals have decided not to provide abortions recently, at the instigation of representatives of anti-abortion groups and churches. The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has called on Slovakia to ban the abuse of conscientious objection to deny health care, however.
The study found that the set price for abortion, as determined by the Ministry of Health, is €248.95. The study found additional hidden fees, however, and estimated the final average price was €414, approximately 48% of the average, monthly gross wage of young women aged 20-24. In addition, only surgical abortion is available in Slovakia. The call for introducing medical abortion, which has so far been illegal, has faced political resistance.
The study examined 70 facilities in Slovakia, which included all known hospitals and day surgery facilities with a gynaecological department. However, not all hospitals that could perform abortions were included in the research, as no such list is available.
SOURCE: EURACTIV.com, by Lucia Yar, 10 October 2021 ; PHOTO by Povstanie Pokračuje/Facebook in Byline Times, 10 June 2021