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Damaging abortion bill stopped in Slovakia

Slovakia has voted against a bill that would have forced women to look at ultrasound scans before having a termination. Only 59/150 MPs voted in favour – a crushing defeat! 

Thank you to everyone who emailed Slovak MPs. In just 48 hours we helped stop this damaging bill from being passed. People power works!

What happened?

If this new law had been adopted then Slovakia would have had one of the strictest abortion laws in the EU. This would have set a dangerous precedent for other European countries.

Women would have be forced to undergo a mandatory ultrasound scan, view images of the foetus or listen to the ‘foetal heartbeat’ before they’re allowed to terminate the pregnancy.

There are no medical reasons for these requirements. Not only would they have undermined women’s privacy, but they would have subjected women to extreme humiliation and degrading treatment.

The new law would also have banned ‘advertising’ on abortion and impose a fine of up to €66,400 on those who order or disseminate it information about services. 

This would have created a chilling effect on education and information about sexual and reproductive health, potentially leading to a rise in unsafe abortions that aren’t medically supervised.

On the wrong side of history

On 18 October 2019 the UN noted that women in Slovakia already face multiple barriers to accessing safe abortion and contraceptives and warned that this new bill would further worsen the situation.

This was followed by a joint letter of more than 30 organisations calling on Slovak MPs to reject the bill. The Council of Europe also stepped in saying the law should be dropped.

Under EU law Slovakia must enable pregnant women to exercise their right to access lawful abortion services. Their MPs have the direct responsibility of making sure this happens.

Emails were sent directly to party leaders, hopefully playing some part in their decisions on how to vote.