Protest Against Ban on Abortions Held in Zagreb

By 29 December 2015

The abortion debate in Croatia becomes more vocal. 

"Our bodies – our choice", "No going back to illegal abortions" – these were just some of the messages sent by about thirty activists of Women's Network of Croatia and other secular civil society organizations which held a protest five minutes to noon in front of the Croatian Constitutional Court building. Demands to ban abortions in Croatia have been growing louder and louder recently, and the media has learned that the Constitutional Court is ready to discuss the proposal to review the constitutionality of the law allowing abortions, reports Tportal on December 29, 2015.

The prohibition of abortions would lead to serious consequences for the health of women and to discrimination against them, warned Nela Pamuković, a member of Women's Network of Croatia, and pointed out the delayed reaction of the Court: "The Constitutional Court, after 24 years of delay, has now decided to tackle this issue, even though it does not have all of its members elected. If they decide to ban abortion, we believe that the Constitutional Court would fall under the exclusive influence of the Catholic Church, while Croatia should be a secular state."

Members of the European Parliament, in their annual report on gender equality, have demanded that women must have the right to abortion, which is still not legally allowed in all EU member states. Today's protest at St. Mark's Square was briefly interrupted by a man who said that he came to save the souls of activists. He offered them cookies with a message: "I am yours – I am here to save your souls."

Commenting on the fact that the request for the ban on abortions, proposed by the Croatian Movement for Life and Family, has been waiting for a ruling for nearly a quarter century, Mirjana Kučer, a member of Women's Network of Croatia, said that everything depends on political climate. "We have seen it happened repeatedly in waves, there are always those who raise the questions about the right to abortion. In recent years it has been intensified, not only in Croatia. It is connected with a rising influence of right-wing parties and conservative Catholicism and Catholic fundamentalism." Asked to comment on the change of government and the political situation in Croatia, Kučer said that it was not up to them to guess what will happen. They just want to remind everyone about the obligation of Croatia to comply with international documents which the country has signed.