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Macedonia: Rulebook on Termination of Pregnancy


Late October the Macedonian Minister of Health adopted “Rulebook on the content and manner of counseling for the pregnant woman prior to the termination of pregnancy” which instructs doctors how they should counsel those who are seeking an abortion. The document seems to be however more a guide on how to apply psychological pressure on women to change their minds and neglects the right of the woman to make a free choice on her own body.

The document, written in line with the government’s socially conservative policies that aim to portray abortion as a murder, is signed by Health Minister Nikola Todorov, and will soon be distributed to medical facilities and become obligatory for doctors. Medical professionals said that the most disturbing part of the text specifies that “during counselling (…) dynamic ultrasound images are shown [to the pregnant woman] along with description of the offspring, and she is played the heartbeat of the offspring”. The text further instructs that “the doctor should inform the woman of all the anatomical and physiological characteristics of the offspring at that gestational age”.

H.E.R.A. – the Association for Health Education and Research, ASTRA member, said that the rulebook should be withdrawn and revised because it goes against local legislative and international health conventions: “The showing of dynamic ultrasound images of the foetus, listening the heartbeat, being informed about its gestational age and explanations of the effects of the intervention are in no way linked to the health condition of the woman, and are irrelevant for the intervention itself.”

In June 2013, the government adopted new abortion legislation that critics said curbs women’s rights. The changes were adopted amid protests by activists and in the absence from parliament of opposition parties. The government has also backed an anti-abortion media campaign that described terminations as murder.

Rulebook on Termination of Pregnancy

Source: H.E.R.A.; Balkan Insight

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