In a statement, HUBOL expressed genuine regret for Čavajda, whose unborn child has a brain tumour.
HUBOL said conscientious objection was founded in international legal documents, Croatian law, and the Code of Medical Ethics, and legally, everything about it was clear.
Čavajda’s case is not about conscientious objection, HUBOL said, adding that a woman’s legal right to abortion and pregnancy termination and a doctor’s right to conscientious objection must not be mutually exclusive.
“The Ministry of Health has the duty to ensure conditions for the exercise of both rights,” the statement said.
Pregnancy termination in case of a seriously malformed fetus after the 22nd week is feticide, which is not regulated by Croatian law, HUBOL said, adding that a doctor who performs it could be criminally charged.
If such a pregnancy is terminated in a way that results in a live birth, the neonatologist is legally obliged to provide for the baby in the best way possible, or risk being sued for negligence, HUBOL added.
It called for adopting a new law that would clearly regulate the rights and obligations of doctors regarding pregnancy termination as well as protecting children, pregnant women, mothers and doctors from misinterpretations.
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