Executive summary

AuthorPietruchova, Olga
IPOL | Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs
6 PE 659.922
Access to sexual and reproductive healthcare services is a fundamental component of sexual and
reproductive rights. Under international human rights law and standards, European Union Member
States should ensure access to safe and quality sexual and reproductive healthcare. According to the
World Health Organization (WHO), sexual and reproductive rights is an umbrella term for four separate
areas: sexual health, sexual rights, reproductive health, and reproductive rights (SRHR).
The situation regarding SRHR in Slovakia does not only meet required international standards, but it
has worsened in the last two decades. The legal status of abortions in the country is being constantly
challenged despite the legally binding decision by the Constitutional Court back in 2007 whic h
safeguarded woman’s rights to reproductive self-determination. Eleven proposals to restrict abortion
have been presented in the National Parliament, in the last two years. As the abortion debate in the
country is very emotional, it is often misused by some political parti es to conceal more serious political
The general public in Slovakia is rather favourable in supporting the free choice of women when
deciding about abortion. According to the latest opinion poll1, only 17% of the respondents want to
tighten access to abortion for women. Nonetheless, the predominant role of the religious and
conservative institutions and actors in the country and its influence on policymakers all-across the
political spectrum hampers and obstructs any possi ble positive development. The best example is the
unavailability of medical abortion, even though the pill was registered by the Slovak Drugs Agency
back in 2013. Because of the lobbying of the Catholic Church by the Prime Minister, the Ministry of
Health did not authorise its use in practice2. The relatively high financial cost of abortion (which equals
the minimum living costs in the country) and contraception make it inaccessible for groups of women
at risk of poverty and social exclusion, students, and women from the Roma community. Furthermore,
the conscientious objection applicable in the health services sector and the currently ongoing COVID-
19 pandemics limit access to abortion services further, particularly in areas with a strong influence of
the religious and conservative institutions and actors.
Consequently, the civil society under the lead of some feminist NGOs can only focus on keeping the
status quo instead of lobbying for positive development. On one hand, they are in such a situation
loaded with advocacy activities; on the other hand, the government has de facto cancelled the financial
support. Thus, the SRHR in the country is at risk as never before.
The aim of this paper if to provide comprehensive background information about SRHR, particularly
abortion rights and services, in Slovakia.
1 http://www.ivo.sk/8705/sk/aktuality/vo-verejnosti-prevazuje -nazor-ze-sucasny-interrupcny-zakon-netreba-menit
2 https://spravy.pravda.sk/domace/clanok/323472-potratova-tabletka-na-slovensku-nebude/

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