Slovakia’s Parliament Debates Pro-Life Bill

The law, debated on Nov. 5, was introduced by members of parliament from the Ordinary People and Independent Personalities (OĽaNO) movement, led by Anna Záborská.

The draft text proposes extending the waiting period for women seeking an abortion from 48 hours to 96 hours “unless there is an immediate threat to women’s health.”
The draft text proposes extending the waiting period for women seeking an abortion from 48 hours to 96 hours “unless there is an immediate threat to women’s health.” (photo: Unsplash)

BRATISLAVA, Slovakia — Slovakia’s parliament is debating a bill aiming to increase assistance to pregnant women and reduce the number of abortions in the country. 

It is the fourth attempt to pass pro-life measures in as many years in the central European country where abortion is legal on request up to 12 weeks and later if a mother’s life is deemed to be in danger.

The draft law on assistance to pregnant women, introduced at the National Council of the Slovak Republic on Aug. 31, would extend the mandatory waiting period before an abortion, ban abortion advertising, and offer more financial support to new mothers. 

The law, debated on Nov. 5, was introduced by members of parliament from the Ordinary People and Independent Personalities (OĽaNO) movement, led by Anna Záborská.

The draft text proposes extending the waiting period for women seeking an abortion from 48 hours to 96 hours “unless there is an immediate threat to women’s health.” But according to local media, Záborská is currently proposing a waiting period of 72 hours.

The National Council of the Slovak Republic, the national parliament of Slovakia, in Bratislava. Peter Zelizňák via Wikimedia (Public Domain).

The National Council of the Slovak Republic, the national parliament of Slovakia, in Bratislava. Peter Zelizňák via Wikimedia (Public Domain).

Pope Francis visited Slovakia, a country of 5.5 million people, 62% of whom are Catholics, on Sept. 12-15. During an in-flight press conference on his way back to Rome, the Pope said: “Abortion is more than an issue. Abortion is murder.”

Supporters of abortion, including Amnesty International, have sharply criticized the draft law. 

Dunja Mijatović, the Council of Europe’s human rights commissioner, wrote an Oct. 15 letter to lawmakers claiming that the bill “would bring the Slovak Republic into conflict with its international human rights obligations and put women’s health and reproductive rights at risk.” 

The Slovakian parliament narrowly rejected a bill seeking to tighten restrictions on abortion in October 2020. 

Anna Záborská. Foto-AG Gymnasium Melle via Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 3.0).

Anna Záborská. Foto-AG Gymnasium Melle via Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 3.0).

Writing on her Facebook page on Nov. 3, Záborská said: “A responsible decision is a decision based on facts. This is also what our bill brings.” 

“Within a year, women will receive from the doctor not only information of a medical nature, but also what social, financial, psychological support they can receive if they deliver their child.”

“It’s not only about the mother choosing for her child’s life, but also about helping the mother to carry this decision.”

Pope Francis conferred on Catholics the lay ministries of catechist and lector at a Mass for the Sunday of the Word of God on Jan. 23.

Pope Francis: The Word of God Rekindles Hope

Pope Francis celebrated Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica for the fourth-annual Sunday of the Word of God, during which he, for the first time, formally conferred upon lay Catholics the ministries of lector and catechist.