Tuesday, 28 September 2021

MEP Says Croatia Fares Poorly in Terms of Access to Legal, Safe Abortion

ZAGREB, 28 Sept, 2021 - Compared to other countries, Croatia fares poorly in terms of access to legal and safe abortion, a Croatian member of the European Parliament, Social Democrat Predrag Matić, said on the occasion of International Safe Abortion Day and the presentation of the Abortion Atlas.

"The Abortion Atlas is a new tool that gives an overview of countries according to the availability of abortion, and more importantly, the kind of obstacles women across Europe encounter in terms of access to abortion. Croatia is in the lower section of the ladder in that regard, with the situation considered as poor. Even though abortion in Croatia is legal, we have a problem with practical obstacles to access to abortion," Matić said, as quoted by his office.

The Abortion Atlas, authored by the European Parliamentary Forum for Sexual and Reproductive Rights and the International Planned Parenthood Federation, is the first comprehensive interactive map with data on access to abortion in Europe.

It ranks 52 countries in terms of their legislative frameworks, access and availability of abortion, abortion-related medical care and available public information on abortion.

Croatia is in the lower part of the ranking, with a score of 60%, and it belongs among countries with a poor rating concerning legal and safe abortion. Of the EU member-countries, the best-ranked are Sweden and the Netherlands while Malta and Poland are worst-ranked.

"Access to abortion in the EU has been prevented due to a number of administrative and imposed medical obstacles and conditions such as compulsory counselling, compulsory additional medical tests and a compulsory waiting period," said Matić, a member of the EP's Women's Rights and Gender Equality Committee and author of an EP resolution on the state of sexual and reproductive health and rights in the EU.

The obstacles are unjustified and most citizens advocate access to abortion, Matić said, citing the latest survey on the topic in Croatia, in which 81% of the respondents supported the right to abortion while as many as 63% said that pregnancy termination must be free of charge, which makes abortion truly available regardless of one's geographical and socioeconomic status, Matić's office said.

Matić also recalled an extremely dangerous trend among gynecologists in Croatia, with 186 or 60% of the 322 gynecologists employed in hospitals across the country refusing to perform abortion.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 24 June 2021

Matić: No One is Advocating Abortion, It is Women's Choice

ZAGREB, 24 June 2021 - Croatian MEP Predrag Matić said on Wednesday that it was a lie that his report on sexual and reproductive health, which will be put to a vote in the European Parliament on Thursday, promoted abortion.

"No one is advocating abortion, particularly not as a method of contraception," Matić said during the plenary meeting of the European Parliament.

"The number of abortions in countries where abortion is allowed is the same as in countries where it is banned. Only in these latter countries, it poses a risk to women's health as 23,000 women throughout the world die from it every year," he added.

Presenting his report, Matić said that abortion is a very difficult choice for every woman, but that in the end, every woman must have a choice.

"No one is denying doctors the right to refuse to provide a medical service for personal reasons, but at the same time the health institution must ensure a doctor who will provide the requested service," Matić said, adding that the resolution clearly says that health care falls within the competence of member states.

Matić, a member of the Croatian Social Democratic Party and the Socialists & Democrats group in the European Parliament, said he had received "angry and disgusting" criticisms and hundreds of hate emails over his report.

He said that by voting for this non-legislative resolution, men would show respect for women's rights and women would show self-respect, while all members of the European Parliament should show what kind of Europe they wanted.

Matić said that opponents of the resolution were ready to ignore the parts of it speaking of improving women's health only to focus on the issue of abortion using "an unbelievable amount of lies and manipulation."

"Tomorrow is a great day for Europe and the entire progressive world. Tomorrow we decide on positioning Europe as a community that chooses to live in the 21st  or the 17th century. Don't let history remember us as the latter ones," Matić concluded.

The report was criticized by parties on the right side of the political spectrum for referring to abortion as a human right, for treating the issue of conscientious objection as a problem, and for sidestepping the powers of EU member states.

Croatian MEP Karlo Ressler (HDZ/EPP) said that the resolution uses confusing language equating conscientious objection with denial of medical care, while his colleague Tomislav Sokol said that Matić, by advocating sexual education in school based on gender ideology, was overstepping the competencies of the EU and telling the member states what they should teach in their own curricula.

"Matić drew up the report probably under the influence of foreign lobbies that promote abortion. This stems from the fact that in the report Matić gives an arbitrary definition of sexual and reproductive health that is not based on international law," Sokol said, demanding that the disputed parts of the report should be voted on separately.

For more news about Croatia, visit our dedicated page.

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