May 29, 2013

The Draft Law on Abortion must be withdrawn immediately!

1. The draft law goes against the basic freedoms and rights and therefore represents a complex and elaborate law that cannot be adopted by shortened procedure.

2. The draft law for termination of pregnancy repeals/deletes the current provision of free choice for women to terminate their pregnancy until the 10th gestational week by introducing restrictive mechanisms which are not based on scientific knowledge and medicine based on evidence, and are not in accordance with the existing medical guidelines concerning termination of pregnancy defined by the World Health Organization due to the following provisions:

·  Submitted written request by women to terminate their pregnancy

·  A written consent for the procedure given by the woman

·  Mandatory pre-abortion counseling

·  Notifying the spouse

·  Setting a mandatory waiting period of three days after the counseling, in order to perform the intervention

·  Submitting a receipt from a gynecology specialist

The provisions in Article 6 of the draft law on termination of pregnancy for request until the 10th week is in collision with Article 2 of the draft law which defines that the woman freely decides for termination of pregnancy, which represents a violation of the provisions of the Constitution and the guaranteed freedoms and rights, as well as the international agreements ratified by the Republic of Macedonia.

3. The provisions of the draft law stipulate new competences of the Minister for Health to adopt decision on:

·  Preparation of the format for written request for abortion

·  Introduction of acts for counseling and clinical protocols

·  Establishing primary committees in health institutions

The autonomy and the ability/capacity of health institutions in charge of this work has been degraded with this, especially because the law defines abortion as a medical intervention and thereby the experts on the matter should be the professional staff and health institutions and medical professionals (the Medical Chamber).

The formation of a commission in the health institution by the Minister will additionally bureaucratize the procedure for the women that submitted the request and indirectly the minister will decide whether the request will be accepted or not.

4. Giving large fines and sentencing doctors that do not comply with the provisions of this law, even for procedures that are not life-threatening (recordkeeping, notifying the spouse) does not comply with the penalties for performing other medical interventions and additionally violates the dignity of doctors and the vocation itself.

A group of civil organizations for protection of human rights and women’s rights