Hundreds Protest In Zagreb For Pregnancy Termination To Be Available

By 12 May 2022
Hundreds Protest In Zagreb For Pregnancy Termination To Be Available
Image: 24sata /Screenshot

ZAGREB, 12 May 2022 - Hundreds of citizens, mostly women, rallied in Zagreb's main square on Thursday to protest against the "destruction of public health and neglecting women's health," and to demand that legal, available and safe pregnancy termination be guaranteed.

Protesters carried banners which read "A woman is not an incubator", "Mistress of my own body", "A woman's toughest decision is not yours", "No more denying medical procedures", "No more clericalism in gynecology clinics", "No more women-hating gynecologists" and "No more unavailable health".

The protest was held in solidarity with Mirela Čavajda, whom a Zagreb hospital's second-instance commission allowed to terminate her pregnancy for medical reasons only after she went public with her case.

It was organised by several NGOs which demand that the government and the Health Ministry make sure that pregnancy termination is available in public health.

According to a survey by the gender equality ombudsman, 59% of Croatian doctors are conscientious objectors.

The NGOs demand the urgent adoption of protocols that will guarantee the availability of pregnancy termination and the publication of the names of doctors who are conscientious objectors as well as information on which hospitals in Croatia perform the procedure.

The demands have been signed by more than 100 civil society organisations.

Deputy Prime Minister Anja Šimpraga attended the protest, telling the press that she came first of all as a woman, but also as a politician who wanted to take responsibility so that everyone in society would act responsibly and apply the law.

The 1978 abortion law which is in force is not the most liberal one nor the most rigid, but it should be updated so that cases like Čavajda's do not happen again, she said, adding that the premier and the ministers have said a lot on this issue. "Therefore, let us do our part."

Asked if the incumbent government, too, was responsible for the fact that hospitals do not provide the services they should, Šimpraga did not say, adding that it is necessary to insist on making healthcare equally available in Zagreb and undeveloped parts of the country. "And we will work on that."


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