Two new anti-abortion legislative proposals have been registered in the Slovak parliament for the upcoming parliamentary sessions, which is to take place on 15 June – 2 July. Reportedly, the bills are expected to be discussed in the first legislative reading at this session. Later on, a vote on whether they should be moved to the second reading is to happen at the session. However, ASTRA was informed that “at the moment it looks unlikely that the bills would get enough support among MPs for them to be moved to the second reading (which would then take place in September).”.
The first bill was proposed by Martin Čepček (MP), a member of the leading governmental party OĽANO (Ordinary People and Independent Personalities). The bill aims to repeal abortion on request (currently permitted up to 12 weeks of pregnancy) and limit access to the procedure in other situations:
“(a) when the mother’s life cannot be saved otherwise; (b) when permanent and serious damage to the mother’s health cannot otherwise be prevented; (c) when the unborn child is unambiguously diagnosed with a severe impairment and the duration of the pregnancy has not exceeded 24 weeks; or (d) when the pregnancy has resulted from the criminal offence against the mother and the duration of the pregnancy has not exceeded 12 weeks.” Abortion on the grounds outlined in points (c) and (d) would not be possible to perform if “the mother‘s health would be substantially endangered by it”.
The bill would introduce a set of new requirements to the current law, like a need to obtain “an independent medical certificates from at least two doctors to confirm grounds outlined in points (a) – (c) above” or “a written statement by the prosecutor confirming reasonable suspicion of the commission of a criminal offence to prove grounds under point (d) above”.
Moreover, the bill would impose a mandatory waiting period of at least 96 hours (except for the cases needing immediate medical care).
As we were informed, “the bill also seeks to prohibit “the promotion of abortion” and to mandate that the information on hospitals performing abortions shall be provided by the Ministry of Health upon the woman’s request after she had been provided with information on alternatives to abortion. The bill also inaccurately states that abortion “has serious negative consequences” and uses inaccurate terminology such as “unborn child” and “mother”.”
The second bill has been proposed by the far-right neo-fascist party Kotlebovci – LSNS (Kotlebists – People’s Party Our Slovakia), currently in the parliamentary opposition (this bill was already discussed and rejected by the Slovak parliament).
What should be noted is that both proposals aim to prohibit provision of abortion care to foreigners (except from the situation of the person’s life being at risk), what carries a significant risk especially for Poles, as Slovakia is one of their main destinations for obtaining an abortion after the introduction of the Polish abortion ban.