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Author Topic: Abortion, Slovakia and the EU  (Read 1874 times) Average Rating: 0
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Silouan
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« on: January 06, 2006, 05:58:16 PM »

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4588450.stm


Slovak abortion move worries EU

A draft treaty between Slovakia and the Holy See would allow hospital staff to refuse to do abortions or fertility treatment on religious grounds.

A panel of EU lawyers says this could restrict the rights of those who want them in such a firmly Catholic nation.

Pope Benedict XVI has vowed to take a tough line on issues such as abortion.

The draft treaty, drawn up in 2003, says it is based on "recognising the freedom of conscience in the protection and promotion of values intrinsic to the meaning of human life".

Slovakia is said to be 70% Catholic but abortion is legal up to the 12th week of pregnancy.

Under the draft agreement, the Slovak Republic "undertakes not to impose an obligation on the hospitals and healthcare facilities founded by the Catholic Church... to perform artificial abortions or assisted fertilisations".

Far-reaching deal

But Professor Olivier De Schutter, the head of the panel of lawyers from the EU Network of Independent Experts on Fundamental Rights, says the articles relating to religious conscientious objection raise the most concern.

   
It is neither right nor just for a doctor-gynaecologist, who is for example a supporter of the culture of life, to be forced to perform an abortion
Richard Fides
Slovakia justice ministry spokesman

He said it was "far-reaching, considering a very large majority of healthcare providers in Slovakia are Catholics and might exercise their right to conscientious objection".

He said the treaty did not oblige medical staff in such cases to refer the person seeking advice to another healthcare provider.

Human rights bodies have repeatedly said that when abortion is legal in a country, access to abortion must be provided to all without discrimination.

"The right to religious conscientious objection may be and should be respected, but with safeguards that make it possible for women to seek legal abortion," Professor de Schutter told the BBC's Europe Today programme. "This is the problem the draft text may be posing."

Richard Fides, a spokesman for Slovakia's justice minister, rejected claims in some European media that the document was basically an abortion agreement.

"That is sheer nonsense," he told the Slovak commercial television station TA3.

"The objective of the agreement is to ensure that every individual can apply their right to the objection of conscience. It is neither right nor just for a doctor-gynaecologist, who is for example a supporter of the culture of life, to be forced to perform an abortion."

Holy agreements

But Martin Buzinger, Slovakia's representative on the legal panel, argued that "the agreement stipulates a very broad right to the objection of conscience, without ensuring at the same time that this right is not abused."

The Holy See has similar treaties - or concordats - in place with other member states, including Italy, Latvia and Portugal, but clauses on religious conscientious objections only relate to exemptions from military service.

The draft treaty is yet to be signed. If it is, it will have the status of an international treaty, as the Vatican is a sovereign state.

Professor de Schutter says any political response to the legal panel's report on the draft treaty will be down to the European Commission and parliament.
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« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2006, 08:01:04 PM »

It will be interesting to see how this turns out - If the move is successful and holds up to EU legal standards, who knows where it will go...
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« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2006, 01:03:35 AM »

It's a political game.  They've also told both the Czechs and Slovaks that they can't make beer using triple decoction mashing.  That means the best beer in the world will suffer because the Germans decided to go cheap with their beer and they are going to force everyone else to stink as well.  (And if anyone wants to argue that you can take a bunch of toasted grains and get the same beer, the way the Germans have tried, they're crazy.  The body and mouthfeel are completely different in faked decoction mash beer.)

They don't care about the religious freedom of a nation that doesn't want to follow German sensibilities.  They just want to be able to take what they want from whoever they want.
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« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2006, 01:17:46 AM »

The beer issue you bring up is an important one.ÂÂ  My hope is to be able to get to the Czech Republic before it gets too EUish...ÂÂ  Cheap and good beer - the beverage of Eden I'm sure.... it all depends on if/when I get the chance to do a year in Europe for school. 
« Last Edit: January 15, 2006, 01:18:49 AM by Silouan » Logged
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« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2006, 03:12:45 AM »

"The objective of the agreement is to ensure that every individual can apply their right to the objection of conscience. It is neither right nor just for a doctor-gynaecologist, who is for example a supporter of the culture of life, to be forced to perform an abortion."

Regardless of political agendas, I agree with the above sentiment.  If a woman has a "right" to an abortion, a doctor should have the right to refuse to perform one.
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« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2006, 04:36:48 AM »

I suspect the compromise that will eventually come about is that a doctor can refuse to preform the procedure provided he finds someone who will to replace him. Which is ultimately a good compromise, freedom of conscience is preserved without changing the status quo (as changing the status quo isn't actually the point of this compromise); furthermore, neither side will be fully happy as doctors will be able to refuse to give abortions which will piss off the pro-abortion crowd, but it wont make abortion any harder to come by which will piss off the anti-abortion crowd. Generally speaking, an end result where both sides are unhappy is a good compromise.

I just hope this doesn't negatively affect the quality of beer Wink
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« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2006, 02:32:56 PM »

"Provided that the doctor finds another substitue to do it-" How does that make a difference? Its just like giving someone else the gun to kill somebody.If a woman really wants an abortion she should have to find the other doctor herself.
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Thomas
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« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2006, 05:41:57 PM »

The difference is that a physician does not have to do what he does not wish to do for whatever the reason.  Usually what occurs the woman is referred to a medical grouping that does both pro-life and pro-abortions services. That agency will locate a physician who will do what the womean wishes.

Eventually what happened is people stop asking the physician about abortion. The result is  Physicians who feel strongly pro-life are able to promote that fact---it is amazing that many former abortionsits in the US have become pro-life by the actions of courageous doctors who refuse to do abortions and talk about their reasons with their collegues.

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« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2006, 09:00:15 PM »

"Provided that the doctor finds another substitue to do it-" How does that make a difference? Its just like giving someone else the gun to kill somebody.If a woman really wants an abortion she should have to find the other doctor herself.

That seems to be the point, to allow you to hand the gun off to someone else, rather than forcing the person in question to pull the trigger. That way, if a doctor objects to the procedure he personally doesn't have to do it, but as abortion is legal the doctor's personal convictions and refusal shouldn't make it more difficult for the woman to obtain an abortion.

While I personally oppose abortion and would support laws to outlaw it, I oppose attempts to restrict access to it. If it is legal, then the right of access to it, as a legal operation, should be secured, and no one should be able to pass laws infringing upon this right. If one wants to change the law they should address the issue directly, not in a round about way, which seems to be the vatican's intention here, to use treaties where legislation has failed their cause. But I guess my objections to this arise out of my being a 'Borkian' Strict Constructionist and a student of Roman Law, the letter of the law must be respected and upheld, even if it is at odds with our system of morals or sense of justice.
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« Reply #9 on: January 17, 2006, 12:02:16 AM »

Quote
How does that make a difference? Its just like giving someone else the gun to kill somebody.If a woman really wants an abortion she should have to find the other doctor herself.

The difference is that the doctor can still be a part of the system of murder and have an excuse good enough to be able to sleep well.  It worked for the Germans (and the French, Slovaks, heck, all of Fascist Europe) when they were exterminating Jews in the Twentieth Century.  Why give up what works?
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