Constitutional Court Confirms Constitutionality of Abortion

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Parliament has to adopt the new law within two years.

The Constitutional Court has rejected the constitutional complaint made 26 years ago by an NGO which claimed that the existing law which regulates the right to abortion should be declared unconstitutional. The Court called on Parliament to adopt a new law regulating this issue within a period of two years, reports Večernji List on March 2, 2017.

President of Constitutional Court Miroslav Šeparović announced on Thursday the decision of the Constitutional Court which was made on 21 February.

While drafting the new law, Parliament must take into account that the existing law “contains certain provisions which no longer exist in the Croatian constitutional order” since, after the adoption of the current Constitution in 1990, a completely new legal and institutional framework of health, social, scientific and educational system has been created. Also, Parliament has to include educational and preventive measures in the law, so that abortion should be an exception, reads the summary of the decision.

The decision was supported by 12 out of 13 judges, and the only one who voted against was Miroslav Šumanović, who said that the law should be adapted to the Constitution not just formally, but also substantially. He added that it was the duty of the state to protect the right of unborn beings. He proposed that the current law which allows abortion should be abolished and a new law adopted instead.

Šeparović said that a number of international documents protected the right to life of all persons as a fundamental human right. However, they do not give an answer to the question of when life begins or when an unborn being becomes a person, he added. Most European countries allow abortion on demand, with various restrictions. “However, Malta and Andorra do not allow any termination of pregnancy, and therefore they have an absolute ban”, said Šeparović.

“Constitutional courts are consistent in their view that the answer to the question of when life begins is not within the jurisdiction of constitutional courts, but of parliaments”, said Šeparović. “The disputed law is not harmonized with the Constitution, but Croatia has generally accepted regulations and acts of Yugoslavia and Socialist Republic of Croatia until the adoption of new laws”, said Šeparović. The current law was adopted during the socialist regime in Yugoslavia.

“Given the fact that the disputed law formally does not comply with the Constitution, the Constitutional Court has ordered Parliament to adopt a new law within two years”, said Šeparović.

Šeparović said that it was unacceptable that the case stood unresolved by the Constitutional Court for 26 years. “We have assessed that the Croatian society is now ready for the decision”, he said, adding that after this decision Parliament cannot pass a law that would prohibit abortion.

The current abortion law was adopted in 1978, and the constitutional complaint was filed in 1991 by the Croatian Movement for Life and Family.


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