SLOVAKIA – Sixth attempt to restrict abortion law this year fails

On 5December 2019, the Slovak parliament rejected the draft bill on abortion thatwould have forced women seeking abortion to have an ultrasoundscan, see images of the embryo or fetus from the scan, and listen to theheartbeat. The aim was to shame themso that they would not have an abortion after all. See our report from 20November for background.

Ten days ago, more than 30 Slovak health and rights organisations calledon legislators to reject the bill because the restrictions had no clinicaljustification, and warning that the conditions involved would subject women to“harmful stigma, humiliation and degrading treatment.”

On 3 December, the SVK Nationalist Party tabled amendments creatingfurther restrictions, including: requiring the pregnant woman to inform hermale partner she was pregnant and intended to have an abortion, a four-daywaiting period between the request and the abortion, and putting emergencycontraception on prescription only.

The final vote among the 124 legislators presentwas – In favour: 59; Against: 24; Abstained: 40; Did not vote: 1. The bill fellbecause it did not achieve a majority among the 124 voters who were present.

The groupFreedom of Choice reported this on 5 December on Twitter: #wewontbesilent paid off! The 6th attemptthis year aimed at restricting access to safe and legal #abortion DIDNOT PASS. We are grateful to everyone who made it possible and supported us.

SOURCES: E-mail from Adriana Lamackova, Senior Legal Consultant forEurope, Center for Reproductive Rights, 5 December 2019 ; ThomsonReuters, by Rosa Furneaux, 21 November 2019 ; @MoznostVolby, 3 Dec 2019, 5Dec 2019 ; PHOTO: Peter Sit/Amnesty Slovensko