Right to Conscientious Objection to Abortion Burning Issue in Croatia

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, March 27, 2019 – Health Minister Milan Kujundžić on Wednesday called for compliance with the legislation when it comes to honouring the right to conscientious objection concerning the issue of abortion, while at the same time that procedure should be made available.

“Anything that is in contravention with ethical and moral principles deserves condemnation,” Kujundžić said, and commenting on the case of a woman in Dubrovnik who underwent an abortion procedure without anaesthesia due to the anaesthesiologist’s refusal to participate in the procedure, the minister said that the hospital should have engaged other doctors in such cases when their colleagues invoke the conscientious objection clause which allows them to refuse to participate in the termination of pregnancy.

Asked by the press when a new abortion law could be prepared, Kujundžić said that the law would be prepared but that there were no deadlines for its adoption. “Currently, we are thoroughly analysing the international practice,” he added.

Opposition member of parliament Mirando Mrsić today accused the government of ignoring deadlines set by the Constitutional Court for the preparation of legislation on pregnancy termination. Mrsić said that Prime Minister Andrej Plenković is “a political coward”.

The party called Strength (Snaga) has sent an open letter to Minister Kujundžić urging him to protect patients’ rights in cases when hospital employees invoke conscientious objection clause to refuse to participate in abortions and assisted reproduction.

This party insists that the situation with medical staff invoking the right to conscientious objection has become untenable.

The party calls on the minister to clarify ambiguous rules about who could invoke that right and in which conditions that could be done so that patients’ rights are not affected.

The open letter was prompted by reports that a great number of medical staff, notably anaesthesiologists and midwifes, refuse to participate in certain procedures, invoking their right to conscientious objection.

According to a report, every second midwife would like to invoke that right if the clause about that matter was more clearly defined in the legislation on midwifery.

The party asks the minister to provide information on the exact number of employees in the health sector and about a rate of conscientious objection.

More news about health sector in Croatia can be found in the Lifestyle section.


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