12/12/2019

Urgent Action Victory! Bill Restricting Abortion Rights Rejected (Slovakia: UA 167.19)


The Slovak Parliament rejected a bill aimed at obstructing access to safe and legal abortion. If adopted, this bill would have undermined women’s privacy and autonomy and subjected them to harmful stigma, humiliation and degrading treatment.

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NO FURTHER ACTION IS REQUESTED. MANY THANKS TO ALL WHO SENT APPEALS.

On 5 December the Slovak Parliament (National Council) rejected a bill that required women seeking abortions to undergo a mandatory ultrasound scanning and to view and obtain an ultrasound image of the embryo or the foetus. The proposal was an alarming attempt to rollback reproductive rights in Slovakia.

Among the 150 MPs in the Slovak Parliament, only 59 voted in favour of the bill, meaning it did not meet the requirement for a simple majority of 76 votes. Twenty-four MPs voted against the bill and 40 abstained.

In a joint letter published on 18 November, more than 30 organisations -including Amnesty International – called on all Slovak MPs to reject the bill. Similarly, the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe called for the rejection of the legislative proposal and any other legislative proposals that could limit women’s access to their sexual and reproductive rights. The outcome of the voting is a huge victory for women and for all activists who spoke out and mobilized in Slovakia and internationally against this harmful bill.

The original bill was also prohibiting “advertising” on abortion and imposing a fine of up to 66,400 Euros on those who order or disseminate it. This prohibition risked a chilling effect on the provision of access to information on sexual and reproductive health, including safe and legal abortion, by medical providers.

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