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Commissioner calls on Slovak parliament to reject retrogressive measures on access to safe and legal abortion care

Letter
Strasbourg 26/11/2019
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©Isabel Infantes

©Isabel Infantes

The Commissioner published a letter sent to the National Council of the Slovak Republic today, in which she calls on the National Council of the Slovak Republic to reject a legislative proposal which would restrict existing access to safe and legal abortion care.

The tabled proposal would introduce a number of requirements that run counter to the principle of non-retrogression, which prohibits any measures that diminish existing rights in the field of health. This includes subjecting women seeking an abortion to mandatory ultrasounds and requiring them to view and receive images obtained through such an ultrasound.

The Commissioner notes that, in line with international standards, abortion counselling should never be mandatory, biased or directive. She also stresses that a proposed prohibition on “advertising” of abortion services could prevent health care professionals from providing necessary public information on safe abortion care, and impede women’s access to freely available, evidence-based and unbiased information on their sexual and reproductive health and rights.

The Commissioner reminds members of the National Council that “any regulation of access to sexual and reproductive health services must respect women’s human rights, including the rights to privacy, autonomy, personal integrity, and access to evidence-based and unbiased information, and should be guided by the principle of informed consent.” 

The  Council of Europe Commissioner Issue Paper on women's sexual and reproductive health and rights in Europe published in 2017, provides detailed recommendations on safeguarding these rights.