New restrictive abortion law is proposed by the Government of the Republic of Macedonia
A couple of days ago the Government of Macedonia proposed to Parliament a new Abortion Law. The new Abortion Law has a number of articles which are restrictive and dimish the right of women to have free access to abortion.
The Government proposes that the law goes through an urgent procedure, because they state, it is not a systemic law and the issues that are covered are not disputable. Today when the Minister of Health addressed Parliament said that in the law there are no new aspects introduced and that only issues from the old law are better regulated. The Minister also pointed out that this law is proposed due to the protection of the women’s health. The majority of the MPs voted for the new law to go through urgent procedure.
OF COURSE THIS IS MANIPULATION AND IT IS NOT TRUE.
The new law on abortion introduces new mechanisms that are obstacles for free access to abortion. In short below are the restrictive aspects of the new law:
A woman needs to submit a written application in order the pregnancy to be terminated ,
A woman needs to give a written consent approval the procedure to be done ,
mandatory pre-abortion counseling ,
the partner (the husband) is to be informed about the procedure,
mandatory waiting period of three days after the pre-abortion counseling,
submitting a confirmation from the doctor is necessary
The whole law gives significant discretionary power to the Minister of Health, and the makes the whole system highly centralized.
These are only the main restrictive aspects of the new law.
The law is in parliamentary procedure and the next discussion in the commission is in two days time.
Hera Office [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: 31 May 2013
Please find below (or access on our web site http://hera.org.mk/?p=1572&lang=en ) the NGO letter of support for signing in regards to the latest events in Republic of Macedonia whereas the Parliament wants to adopt a new restrictive abortion law by imposing barriers on women’s access to legal abortion services.
All interested in supporting our effort,please return your details (name of the organization and country), to my email address email@example.com with the signed letter, no later than Tuesday 4 June 12.00.
I would also appreciate if you can share the email widely in order to get support from as many organization worldwide
H.E.R.A. – Health Education and Research Association
Member Associtaion of IPPF
Debarca 56, 1000 Skopje – Macedonia
LETTER OF SUPPORT >>>>>>>
31 May 2013
Honorable Members of the Parliament,
Honorable President of The Government of Republic of Macedonia, Mr. Nikola Gruevski
We the undersigned organizations respectfully submit this letter to express our concern about the proposed Macedonian law on termination of pregnancy.
Firstly, we are alarmed about the decision of the Parliament to discuss the adoption of the Draft Law in urgent procedure without taking efforts to involve all interested parties, including civil society and women organizations, in a transparent and comprehensive consultative process. Bearing in mind that such law infringes on fundamental rights and freedoms of the women and is a complex and extensive law, which we believe should not be adopted in a short procedure.
Secondly, the Draft Law imposes barriers on women’s access to legal abortion services. As such, it conflicts with women’s rights to life, privacy, physical integrity and autonomy, confidentiality, health, and non-discrimination, as protected by the Macedonian Constitution and reflected in Macedonia’s international and regional human rights obligations.
In particularly, the Draft Law put harmful practices to women free choice to terminate a pregnancy up to 10 weeks by introducing restrictive mechanisms such as submission of a written request, requesting written consent by the women, biased mandatory counseling, 3 day “waiting” period after the counseling being performed and mandatory notification of a spouse. All these requirements undermine the free will of women to choose for an abortion as stipulated in the Article 2 of the Draft Law. They do not improve the health and life of women seeking for abortion nor are they in accordance with the international medical standards and international human rights obligations (1) In contrary imposing these barriers on women’s access to legal abortion services infringes upon women’s decision-making, perpetuates gender stereotypes about women’s ability to make reasonable decisions about reproduction, and thus, discriminate against women. Further on, the proposed requirements reinforces the notion that women are unable to make rational and thoughtful reproductive choices, unnecessarily delays abortion, and may drive some women, especially adolescents, to undergo illegal abortions. The proposed changes infringe on the following international human rights “the right to non-discrimination”"the right to be free from cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment” and “the right to privacy, confidentiality, information and education”.
Therefore, we the undersigned organizations, strongly urge you to withdraw the draft law and ensure there is an extensive debate and consultation process with all key stakeholders, including civil society and women’s organizations, to guarantee the new law respects women’s rights and includes protection for informed and non-coercive decision-making, in compliance with regional and international human rights declarations and medical standards.
We thank you for your consideration of this letter and express our hope that the Republic of Macedonia will continue to ensure that its laws and policies on abortion highly value women’s rights to health and life and respect women’s dignity and privacy in an environment that is free of stigma and discrimination.
Please return your details (name of the organization and country), to my email address firstname.lastname@example.org with the signed letter, no later than Tuesday 4 June 12.00.