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Croatia: attacks on women’s rights, annual anti-abortion mass protests

[Zagreb, Message from our members, 26 May 2017] On Saturday, 20 May was held second annual ‘March for life’ in Croatia, in fact a mass anti abortion protest in two major cities (Zagreb[1] and Split[2]) following a landmark ruling by the Constitutional Court which rejects calls to ban the procedure. 10,000 to 15,000 protesters in Zagreb carried banners such as “Chose life” and “Life is always a Gift”, sang religious songs as well as songs one openly ultranationalist Croatian singer (Marko Perković-Thompson[3]) who is banned in many European countries. Protesters waved Croatian flags but not all of them were official but those from the fascist Croatian state during the 2WW. Among them was Croatian Minister for Foreign and European Affairs Davor Ivo Stier[4], Croatian MEP Marijana Petir, legally convicted war criminal for murders more than hundreds of civilians in Ahmići (central Bosnia) Dario Kordić[5], president of Croatian Medical Chamber Trpimir Goluža who took a photo of himself wearing a “March for Life” t-shirt and posted it on his Facebook page and furthermore posed for media photographs with Željka Markić, head of the In the Name of the Family Initiative that organised ’March for life’ but was also behind the 2013 Constitutional Referendum to prohibit same-sex marriage.

Along the entire route ‘March for life’ feminist activist from the coalition Platform for Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Rights (including Women’s Network of Croatia) protested in small groups with banners such as ’My womb is not public good’, ’Opus dei go away’, ’March is against women’, ’Neither state nor god - near my ovaries’, ’My body— my decision’, ’Witch hunt is back’ and many others. Just before the marchers entered the end of the route at the main square, a group of activists blocked the street with our own bodies. A march involving 15,000 protesters was halted for half an hour and 18 activists were taken to the police station.[6] When the marchers came to the main square, women’s rights activists were displayed two huge banners from the bildings on the main square (’Church and state in war against women’ and ‘March for Life treads on women’s rights’.

The same day Women’s Network Croatia demanded from Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Davor Ivo Stier to resign.[7]

Abortion is legal in Croatia since 1978 until the 10th week of pregnancy but from the breakup of the former Yugoslavia (1991) and the re-establishment of the Catholic Church which again became inseparable from the state (despite declarative secularity) there are various ways on which it’s prevented in the pratcise. 25 years ago started procedure to review the constitutionality of that Act which abortion makes legal, and the Constitutional Court held that proposal in a drawer for 25 years. After the governmental changes from the last year, Constitutional court started procedure on this proposal although they were required to do it in 1992. In a landmark ruling in March[8], Constitutional Court rejected calls to ban abortion and ordered parliament to adopt a new law on abortion regulations within the next two years, ruling that the current legislation was outdated. This is the main reason why this successful action organized by women’s rights platform is important. Since in the upcoming period parliament should adopt the new law and there are clear indicators and fears that a new law could be more restrictive with the final aim to make abortion inaccesible. It’s also important to underline that promotion of violence against women followed by reinterpretation of the Croatian Constitution, by these initiatives, is a direct attack on constitutional order Republic of Croatia.

Picture from facebook http://www.zenska-mreza.hr/


[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3t1GenwbR0
[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=akEFBzvubU0[3] https://english.sta.si/2388446/concert- ... son-banned, http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article ... 017/1431/6
[4] https://croative.net/foto-video-za-zivo ... a-juretic/
[5] http://www.index.hr/novac/clanak/foto-n ... 71389.aspx[6] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xgSkrw61TfI, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Scdry5CwxUk
[7] http://hr.n1info.com/a198054/Vijesti/Zb ... tiera.html[8] http://abortion-news.info/tag/croatia-c ... nal-court/
[8] http://abortion-news.info/tag/croatia-c ... nal-court/

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