Last week, Health Minister Vili Beroš asked hospital directors to list all healthcare workers who invoke conscientious objection and refuse to terminate a pregnancy to determine if hospital functioning is compromised, reports Telegram.hr. The move gives the impression that the minister wants to do something after being embroiled in the controversial Čavajda affair but, as Jutarnji list reported in its print edition, Beroš already knew that more than half of doctors in Croatia have a conscientious objection.
When Jutarnji found out that the Minister had asked hospitals to list their employed doctors who have a conscientious objection to abortion, the Ministry did not answer their question, and Beroš did not answer the question of MP Anka Mrak Taritaš, who asked on April 20 how many doctors refused to assist women in the legal termination of pregnancy, which is something guaranteed by law.
Namely, out of a total of 359 hospital gynecologists in Croatia, 164 gynecologists agree to perform abortions/terminations of pregnancy for women until the tenth week of gestation, which is legally regulated and legal, and 195 refuse to do so. Beroš admitted this to RTL on May 9, two days before asking the directors of the country’s hospitals to list their doctors with conscientious objections to performing abortions.
”Conscience appeal and termination of pregnancy do not exclude each other”
Beroš then said that in that case “outpatient gynecologists are to be hired in the requested hospital or in the nearest healthcare institution in accordance with the law.”
When asked by Jutarnji whether it makes sense to ask hospitals (yet again) for a list of conscientious objectors when they already know how many refuse to terminate pregnancies, and whether or not the plan is to do something so that women can exercise their legally guaranteed right, the Ministry sent them the same answer as they did to RTL more than ten days ago.
They only added that “they periodically collect data with the aim of actively managing the processes for the benefit of patients and that the right to abortion and to conscientious objection are not mutually exclusive and institutions are obliged to find conditions for exercising both rights.” However, Mirela Čavajda could not exercise her legal right in Croatia, so she had to go to Slovenia for her abortion.
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