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Prayers in front of hospital in Vukovar, Croatia


The “40 days for life” initiative is very widespread in Croatia with its actions present in 21 cities throughout the country. The initiative operates through prayers and vigil, spreading anti-choice messages and cooperating within Christian communities. One of the cities in Croatia, Vukovar, only recently witnessed an episode when a city representative joined in the prayers in front of the County General Hospital where legal abortions are performed.

The Facebook page for the “40 days for life – Vukovar” initiative published a post about their first prayer session which was heldon 11th of February, with an explanation that one of the city officials, Ana Živanović, participated in the event. To make sure if Živanović attended the case as a private person or as a staff member, the city mayor, Ivan Penava was approached. He claims that Ivana Živanović participated in the prayer as a city official, because “the City of Vukovar is open to a number of initiatives and promotion of different ways of thinking.” Asked whether praying in front of the hospitals is a violation of patient’s right to privacy, Penava responded: “I never thought about that, and I’m not the one who should answer that kind of questions. If any other initiative came and asked us, we would have sent somebody from the City to attend. Everyone should be able to articulate their stance in a way that doesn’t hurt or threaten anybody. The City is not in the position to make the final judgement and tell what’s right and what’s wrong, at least in this case.”

The photographs from the Facebook post make it visible that the people who are praying are standing right next to the hospital, respectively only a couple of centimeters away from the hospital. The Assistant for Legal Affairs of the Vukovar Hspital, Ivana Azenić Dubravčić told us that the members of the initiative are not on the hospital grounds but on the public path. “They are standing in the open space. Nobody asked us for permission, nor we have discussed it. It’s impossible to forbid someone to stand in front of the hospital.” Furthermore, she explained, “The County General Hospital has four entrances and the initiative is standing in front of the clinic where abortions are not provided” (since that’s an urologic clinic). Azenić Dubravčić said that: “If somebody has a problem with them, there is enough space to bypass them. I don’t know what’s their influence on an individual.”

This hospital is a positive example in terms of providing abortions on demand, hence this whole situation is even more absurd. It seems like, by their acceptance of the situation, both the City of Vukovar and the County Hospital – tacitily approve this neoconservative march on women’s rights.

Source: Libela

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