“It is high time we said enough is enough to the Church, to the (ruling) Croatian Democratic Union and Health Minister Vili Beroš or anyone else who has the cheek to decide on a daily basis on women’s rights and the human rights of any individual to decide on their own body. Today we all have a chance to speak out for human rights and women’s rights, because if we stay on the sidelines, tomorrow our daughters, granddaughters, mothers, sisters, acquaintances and girlfriends will have to justify their decisions to hypocrites and chauvinists,” Mirela Ahmetović of the Social Democratic Party told a joint press conference.
This protest is the foundation for amending the law to enable women to use their own bodies as they saw fit, Ahmetović said, stressing that such an amendment was inevitable and would certainly happen. “Let’s show that we are undivided on this issue,” she added.
“It is important that we say enough is enough to the tyranny,” Ivana Kekin of the Green-Left Bloc said and added: “All opinion polls show that 70 per cent of citizens think that women have the right to decide about their own body. We are all on the same side in this regard.”
Kekin said that human, women’s and reproductive rights are not respected in Croatia because of a conservative revolution that has been going on for decades. “It is no coincidence that the most conservative people are in charge of the most important health institutions which deny the right to a pregnancy termination.”
Katarina Peović of the Workers’ Front called for the right to abortion to be restored in the Constitution. “If the right to abortion were included in the Constitution, it would be difficult to interpret it in different ways. It is also important to admit that the Church is highly responsible for the retraditionalisation of society,” she said.
“We’ve had enough of seeing our citizens, including women, going abroad to exercise their rights. Croatia cannot survive like that,” Dalija Orešković (Centre) warned.
Protest rallies have been scheduled for 6 pm on Thursday in Zagreb, Pula, Rijeka, Sisak, Split, Šibenik, Osijek, Zadar and the southern island of Korčula to express solidarity with Mirela Čavajda, a 39-year-old who has requested a pregnancy termination because the fetus has been diagnosed with massive brain cancer six months into her pregnancy.
Čavajda recently told the media that all the hospitals in Zagreb she had contacted refused to do a termination of the pregnancy despite the fact that doctors told her that the tumour was so big the child would most likely not live long, or even if it did, it would never have a normal life.
Her lawyer, Vanja Jurić, told Hina on Thursday that the decision by a second-instance commission, which has allowed Čavajda to have her pregnancy terminated, set a precedent in Croatia because it confirmed that a pregnancy termination in such cases was legal. She said they were pleased for the sake of all women who might find themselves in a similar situation in the future.
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