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Strong Support for Law Protecting Pregnant Women in Slovakia

Despite opposition from activists pro-choice organisations, the new law proposal has drawn a large positive attention worldwide. In total, 135 international organisations and 33 Slovakian organisations have signed a letter of support for the Slovakian legislative initiative that aims to strengthen the protection of pregnant women. This law has been initiated by a team of 13 Deputies from O’Lano and the Krestanska Unia (Christian Union). You can find a summary of this law here 

The signatories come not only from many European countries, but also from Latin America and Africa; it is remarkable the support coming from all over the world.

The full text of the letter is as follows:

To whom it may concern

We, the undersigned NGOs, are writing to ask the Members of the Slovak Parliament to support the Draft Law which Amends and Supplements Act No. 576/2004 Coll. of Laws on Healthcare, Healthcare-related Services.

The protection of life, health and human dignity which this law aims at doing, is a principle vested in international human rights law, as well as multiple international and regional treaties.

Slovakia ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1990; the preamble of the Convention states the following (emphasis added):

‘[T]he child, by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth.’

The unborn child is a living human being since the moment of conception. As stated by the European Court of Human Rights in Vo v. France, the unborn child ”belongs to the human race.” In this capacity, the unborn child is entitled to all human rights as the other members of the human family.

While the right to life is a fundamental human right, there is no right to abortion in international human rights law; in Europe, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights upheld this on numerous occasions. Furthermore, with regard to regulations in the area of access to abortion, the European Court of Human Rights has held that the ’woman’s right to respect for her private life must be weighed against other competing rights and freedoms invoked including those of the unborn child.”  This approach has been followed in a multitude of cases.

The maintenance and strengthening of these safeguards, such as a waiting period, and advertising bans, are well within the realm of what is legal, on a domestic scale and certainly under international law. The extension of the waiting period allows for proper consideration and respect – not ‘demeaning women as competent-decision makers’, but rather giving them the necessary time and tools to discern upon a crucial decision to take.

For all these reasons, we strongly encourage the Members of the Slovak Parliament to vote in favour of the legislative proposal, thus upholding the dignity and the right to life of the unborn children, as well as the right of women to take an informed choice.


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