Tens of thousands march for ban on abortion in Slovakia

Published September 23, 2019
Bratislava: Thousands of participants march during the anti-abortion protest.— AFP
Bratislava: Thousands of participants march during the anti-abortion protest.— AFP

BRATISLAVA: Tens of thousands marched in Slovakia’s capital on Sunday calling for a total ban on abortions in the predominantly Catholic central European country.

Abortion laws in Slovakia are relatively liberal compared to those in countries like Poland or Malta, which have among the strictest laws in the European Union and often allow them only in cases like rape.

In Slovakia, on-demand abortions are legal up until 12 weeks of a pregnancy while abortions for health reasons are allowed until 24 weeks.

Conservative and far-right lawmakers want to allow them only to up to six or eight weeks of pregnancy or ban them outright, and parliament starts debating draft laws to restrict abortions this month.

It is unclear if the proposals will become law since the ruling Smer — a leftist, socially conservative party — and junior centre-right Slovak National Party in the government, have not said whether they will back any of them.

Abortions have fallen in the country of 5.4 million to 6,000 last year, from almost 11,000 a decade ago. A Focus agency opinion poll this month found 55.5 percent of people disagreed with restricting abortions while 34.6 percent supported the move.

Protesters carrying signs saying “A human is human regardless of size” and “Who kills an unborn child kills the future of the nation” marched in the capital on Sunday demanding a total ban on abortions, including in cases of severe birth defects or rape.

“The life of every human is invaluable, therefore it needs to be protected from conception until natural death,” one of the protest organisers, backed by the Catholic church, said on stage.

The organisers estimated turnout at the protest at about 50,000.

The ruling Smer party has led Slovakia nearly non-stop since 2006 and has built its base by lifting social benefits amid years of economic growth and backing conservative issues.

Ahead of an election next year, the party pledged to back legislation to ban gay marriage and adoption by same-sex couples. Slovak law does not recognise same-sex civil unions.

The most recent official census in 2011 found 62 percent of the country identify as Roman Catholics, while 6 percent are Protestants.

Published in Dawn, September 23rd, 2019

Opinion

Police & prosecution
16 Jan 2021

Police & prosecution

Yasin Malik’s case is a revealing example of Modi’s political vendetta.
Changes in privacy policy
16 Jan 2021

Changes in privacy policy

It is indeed a blunder by WhatsApp to move towards a model that is less private than before.
A national dialogue?
15 Jan 2021

A national dialogue?

Fundamental reforms are needed to change the ‘system of spoils’, not save it.

Editorial

16 Jan 2021

Gas liberalisation

AFTER drawing much criticism from both consumers and the opposition over its mismanagement of the energy sector that...
16 Jan 2021

Osama Satti inquiry

THE findings of the judicial inquiry into the Jan 2 killing of 21-year-old Osama Satti in Islamabad merely confirms...
Updated 16 Jan 2021

British MP on IHK

DESPITE sustained efforts by New Delhi’s rulers to remove India-held Kashmir from the global discourse, people of...
Updated 15 Jan 2021

Trump’s impeachment

The impeachment move may well remain symbolic in nature; even then, the symbolism itself is a potent one.
15 Jan 2021

Economic growth

MOODY’S Investors Service expects Pakistan’s economy to grow by a modest 1.5pc in FY2021, much higher than the...
15 Jan 2021

Madressah students

GETTING students of madressahs involved in politics is a bad idea, primarily because seminarians should be...