Monday, 26 November 2018

Minister Refuses to Reveal Writers of New Abortion Law

ZAGREB, November 26, 2018 - The new abortion law is expected to be finalised by February next year, and since this is a very sensitive matter, the recently established commission will first analyse the existing legislation in European Union countries, both those in which abortion is banned and those in which it is fully liberalised, Health Minister Milan Kujundžić told Hina on Monday.

The bill drafting commission has about ten members, including representatives of the medical profession, bioethicists and jurists, who will primarily focus on the results of legislation in the EU rather than on worldview issues, the minister said. He would not reveal the names of the commission members or of the institutions they come from, citing the sensitivity of the matter.

The abortion law currently in force in Croatia was adopted in 1979. "Governments have changed without touching it. I think that the Constitutional Court ruling is right and that the law should be brought up to date. This government will take that responsibility," Kujundžić said.

The Constitutional Court delivered a ruling on 2 March 2017 obliging the Croatian Parliament to pass a new abortion bill within two years, noting that it was not possible to ban pregnancy termination.

"The legislative arrangement under which termination is allowed up to ten weeks of pregnancy is not unconstitutional. If the Parliament decided to the contrary, it would be against the Constitutional Court ruling," Constitutional Court president Miroslav Šeparović said then. He added: "I don't think that there is a constitutional right to abortion as a human right but only women's right to privacy, which includes the right to freedom of choice."

The Constitutional Court passed the ruling after throwing out a motion filed by a civil society organisation 26 years ago to declare the 1979 Abortion Act unconstitutional.

Gender Equality Ombudsman Višnja Ljubičić said that so far she had not been invited to participate in drafting the new bill, but that she expected the new law not to be restrictive on women's rights. "I expect it to retain the existing rights and possibly to be more modern in certain areas," she said, adding that the names of the members of the bill drafting commission should not be kept secret.

"Anything concerning the preparation of national legislation should be transparent. A vow of secrecy is not good in any respect and does not give a sense of security to citizens," Ljubičić said. She announced that she would ask for her office to get involved in drafting the bill by submitting its proposals and remarks.

"We don't want to act post festum, through amendments. We want to take part in policy making because we work on specific cases of human rights violations and because we receive complaints from citizens and can help improve any legal framework," Ljubičić said.

Iva Davorija of the Platform for Reproductive Rights, which brings together non-governmental organisations, said they considered it a problem that the new bill would be finalised within the next three months without the public knowing who was working on it and who was deciding on women's rights. She said that it was not clear whether the Catholic Church would be involved in drafting the bill.

For more on the abortion issue in Croatia, click here.

Friday, 12 October 2018

Parliament Debates Dismissal of Health Minister

ZAGREB, October 12, 2018 - Health Minister Milan Kujundžić, at the end of an eight-hour long session late on Thursday evening, thanked all MPs who took part in a debate, as well as those who had signed a petition for his dismissal, saying that by doing so they have created room for a discussion about the health system, but he also criticised some MPs for their ignorance and populism which provoked a storm of reactions within the opposition who accused him of insulting them.

Thursday, 4 October 2018

Government Rejects No-Confidence Motion against Health Minister

ZAGREB, October 4, 2018 - The Croatian government on Thursday proposed that the parliament refuse a motion for a no-confidence vote in Health Minister Milan Kujundžić, dismissing in its entirety the motion submitted to the parliament by 31 opposition lawmakers in late September.

Friday, 28 September 2018

Parliament to Vote on No Confidence Motion against Health Minister

ZAGREB, September 28, 2018 - Opposition parties on Friday put forward a no-confidence motion against Health Minister Milan Kujundžić, after they had collected 31 signatures of lawmakers, as required under the procedure.

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Pressure Mounts on Health Minister to Resign

ZAGREB, August 21, 2018 - The leader of Živi Zid party, Ivan Vilibor Sinčić, on Tuesday said that this opposition party would be part of an initiative for Health Minister Milan Kujundžić's replacement, whom Sinčić called out for upholding clientelism in the health sector and added that Kujundžić was definitely one of the worst ministers in Andrej Plenković's government.

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Health Minister Escalates Conflict with Opposition MPs

ZAGREB, August 21, 2018 - Health Minister Milan Kujundžić has said in an interview with the Večernji List daily that he will ask that members of parliament Željko Jovanović of the Social Democratic Party, and Ines Strenja Linic and Božo Petrov of the MOST party be stripped of their medical licences for their statements made following the death of 21-year-old Matteo Ružić, who died in the street in Zaprešić, just west of Zagreb, on August 12 while waiting for an ambulance.

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Cause of Death Revealed for Man Who Died Waiting for Ambulance

ZAGREB, August 21, 2018 - The cause of death of 21-year-old Matteo Ružić, who died in the street last week in Zaprešić, just north of Zagreb, was asthmatic bronchitis and an undiagnosed heart defect, officials of the Ministry of Health reported on Monday presenting the results of an autopsy conducted by the Zagreb-based Institute for Forensics and Criminology.

Monday, 20 August 2018

Prime Minister: “I Won’t Allow Witch-Hunt against Health Minister”

ZAGREB, August 20, 2018 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Monday that no evidence has suggested that there was any objective responsibility by Health Minister Milan Kujundžić for the death of Matteo Ružić, adding that he would not allow a witch-hunt against the minister.

Friday, 17 August 2018

Health Minister Defends Emergency Service System Performance

ZAGREB, August 17, 2018 - Health Minister Milan Kujundžić said on Thursday that an inspection the ministry conducted into the recent death of 21-year-old Matteo Ružić had shown that the emergency service system had worked in this case and that everything was done in line with Croatian regulations and standards.

Thursday, 16 August 2018

Tragic Death Prompts Calls for Health Minister’s Resignation

ZAGREB, August 16, 2018 - A death of a 22-year-old man in Zaprešić this past Sunday, who passed away despite first aid from an ambulance staff, provoked strong reactions in the public and among the opposition that insist that the first aid system failed given that the ambulance team did not include a doctor.

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