The Croatian Women's Network addressed a letter to the Constitutional Court on Tuesday saying that the Abortion Act of 1978 was in line with all relevant international documents as well as recommendations made this year by the UN committee monitoring the implementation of the convention.
The letter was prompted by an announcement that the Constitutional Court would examine whether this law, which legalises abortions, was in line with the Constitution. A request for the assessment of its constitutionality had been filed by the Croatian Movement for Life and Family in 1991, and the Women's Network has learned from the media that the Constitutional Court is ready to discuss the request.
The purpose of the letter is to warn the Constitutional Court that this law is in conformity with all international documents, notably the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the recommendations made this year by the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women concerning the fourth and the fifth report on Croatia, in which the Committee stressed the need for the legislative and other authorities in Croatia to ensure the primacy of the Convention over the Vatican Concordat and to protect women's rights and freedom of choice against the negative influences of the Catholic Church, Women's Network coordinator Mirjana Kucer said.
She noted that the purpose of their letter was also to draw attention to the fact that Croatia is a secular state.
The letter cited Council of Europe Resolution 1464 "Women and Religion in Europe" which calls on member states to protect women's human rights through legislation and practice.
"We have witnessed that the issue of the right to terminate pregnancy is raised repeatedly, in waves. This has intensified in recent years, not just in Croatia, and is connected with the increasing influence of the right and conservative Catholicism and Catholic fundamentalism," Kucer said.
Activists of the Women's Network and the Voice of Reason - Movement for a Secular Croatia rallied outside the Constitutional Court building, carrying banners saying "We don't want to go back to illegal abortions" and "Terminate the Vatican accords". They said they expected the request for the assessment of constitutionality to be dismissed.