General Information On SRHR In Slovakia

AuthorPietruchova, Olga
Access to abortion services for women in the EU - Slovakia
PE 659.922 7
Abortion debate started in Slovakia after the adoption and ratification of the Concordat with the Holy
See (2000). During the two decades, several legal proposals have been discussed in the National
Parliament to restrict access to abortion and famil y planning methods.
1.1. Abortion and SRHR debate in Slovakia
In 2001, a group of conservative MPs filed a motion to the Constitution Court to examine the abortion
law. It was a reaction to the failed attempt to ban abortions in an ame ndment to the Slovak constitution
in 2001.
Article 15 of the Slovak constitution says that everyone has a right to live and that human life is worth
protecting even before birth. The abortion law, on the other hand, allows for abortions to be carried
out up to the 12th week of pregnancy.
The MPs who submitted the motion said that the act on abortions contradicts the sentence in the
Constitution that says that human life is worth protection even before birth. They argued that in
Slovakia, it is legal to perform abortions within the first three months without giving any reason.
In 2007, the Constitutional Court of the Slovak Republic held abortion on demand of a pregnant
woman in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy conforms with the right to life (including the cl ause
stating that human life is worthy of protection even before birth) as set out in the Constitution.3 Th e
court ruled that the procedure pro tects the foetus, as a woman must go through a tough procedure if
she wants an abortion, under the law: filing a request, receiving a medical examination, going through
an interview with a doctor, receiving a second approval of the decision, and paying for the surgery. The
time limit of 12 weeks is associated with the physiology of the d eveloping foetus.
The court gave woman’s right to reproductive self-determination a full and equal standing in the
constitutional order, using a balancing framework, according to which multiple constitutional rights
and values are vindicated, none completely overruling any other, and favouring compromised rather
than absolute regulation.4
Several attempts to restrict the access to abortion have been discussed in the National Parliament, since
the Constitutional Court ruling. A year after the verdict, a group of conservative MPs amended the Act
on Health Care introducing a waiting period and further restrictions (see below).
Initiatives to restrict sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) of women were not limited to
abortion purely but included, inter alia, ban to subsidy contraceptives by the public health insurance
companies, rejection of the introduction of the medical abortion in Slovakia as well as the refusal of
the adoption of the programme on SRHR. The adoption of such a comprehensive programme on
SRHR has been pending since 2007, even though rates of teenage pregnancy and infant mortality are
high and infection of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS, is increasing. The religious and
conservative institutions and actors are strongly opposing the adoption of such a programme. None of
the Slovak governments was willing yet to risk a conflict with the Church. Consequently, no strategic
framework for the protection of the SRHR in the country exists.
In 2015, Slovakia presented its 5. and 6. periodic report to the Committee on the Elimination of
Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). During the constructive dialogue, the topic of SRHR has been
3 Constitution Court ruling 12/01
4 Adriana Lamačková: Women’s Rights in the Abortion Decision of the Slovak Constitutional Court.

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