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Startseite Urgent Actions 2020 09 Women’s access to safe abortion at risk
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21.10.2020 Good news

In case you haven’t already heard the good news, yesterday evening (20 October) the Slovak parliament rejected the restrictive draft bill on abortion. This is an incredible victory and the result of the tireless efforts of women and activists, including Amnesty Slovakia, and of the international support and solidarity.

In the weeks leading to this vote there was a great level of uncertainty about whether the bill was going to be voted or not. This made it difficult for us to relaunch the Urgent Action but the pressure was kept at national level, with the backing of all the actions taken internationally.

We will be publishing an Outcome UA with additional details as soon as possible.

Thanks so much again for the support and for contributing to this victory.


30.09.2020 Vote postponed

You might have already heard the news that came out yesterday - and sincere apologies for taking so long to relay them here – that the third vote in the Slovakian Parliament on the bill aimed at restricting access to safe abortion has been postponed until the next session that will take place between 20 and 30 October.

Colleagues in Amnesty Slovakia have discussed with the national civil society coalition We won’t be silent and the next step will be to regroup and prepare for a second moment of action around the next session in October. This means that for the moment we can stop promoting the UA and that ahead of the third session we will relaunch the action with a UA update and mobilize again international solidarity around this case.

Thanks a lot!


24.09.2020 Latest / new targets

Thanks so much for engaging in this action so far. International pressure is important and should continue ahead of the voting. Debate on the bill could happen from tomorrow and we expect a voting in second reading early next week. While not confirmed, the voting could be on Monday 28 September, ironically International Safe Abortion Day.
There is a lot of attention on the bill in Slovakia thanks to the national campaign led by the Slovak organisations and the international pressure and solidarity, including individual appeals, letters from international organisations etc.

As a result, there have been important and positive developments.
MPs in the Healthcare committee were split about the bill (5 against and 5 in favour) and they recommended against the proposed bill. Opinions of the committees do not have to be followed in plenary but in this case it may be a sign that things are changing. On the other hand, more recently, a group of 16 MP from OLANO (biggest party in Parliament) announced they are against the bill. If they keep this position at the time of voting, this is an important development. Finally, one MP has introduced a new amendment with the aim of removing some of the problematic elements of the bill. Amnesty Slovakia is analysing the text (it’s quite comprehensive) and seeking the opinion of national partners. The amendment could  be voted in plenary before the bill next week. In the meantime, our strategy has not changed and we keep focussing on ensuring the rejection of the bill.

New targets!!
With this in mind, we recommend to keep sending appeals to key MPs and we are adding three new targets from three parties that are part of the government coalition. MPs within the parties are split on the bill and on issues related to abortion. National organisations believe that targeting these three politicians in parliament might create additional pressure. All three targets are influential and voted to support the bill in first reading. The new three targets are:
Speaker of Parliament Mr. Boris Kollár (Sme):
Deputy Speaker of Parliament Mr. Gábor Grendel (OLANO):
Deputy Speaker of Parliament Mr. Juraj Šeliga (Za Ľudí):

If possible, please prioritise these new targets for a final push. On the other hand, MP Anna Zemanová from SaS is less relevant as it is expected that MPs from this party will be voting against the bill.

Solidarity messages in social media, we recommend FB and Instagram as they are more popular in Slovakia and among the politicians. Please tag OLANO in your messages (FB @obycajni.ludia.a.nezavisle.osobnosti , Instagram Obycajniludia) and add the key hashtags #Wewontbesilent # #nebudemeticho

We will keep you updated. Thanks a lot!


22.09.2020 Latest update und FB

Please send e-mails, letters to targets now and within the next few days.
Although the proposed bill was set to be 'postponed' towards the end of the session (ending 30.9), as it seems from the numbered line-up of proposals in parliament that the program went faster and the proposed bill could be read in parliament (2nd reading) as soon as tomorrow, or Thursday/Friday. Then the proposed bill will be subjected to a vote post-2nd reading that could come as soon as Friday/Monday and the final 3rd reading (the final vote) could come right after. I know this must seem very chaotic and unclear, but this is the reason we need to step up the pressure now within tomorrow and end of the week, if your capacities allow.

Also, please tune in on 23 September in AI Slovakia Facebook Live debate online
debate in English
You are welcome to participate with questions.

Also again a huge thank you for the solidarity and mobilization so far, because it seems the pressure is working - MPs are responding. Those who were against and have abstained from the vote previously, have become increasingly vocal about not voting for the proposed bill this time. Even those MPs who supported the bill previously in the ruling coalition, are willing to discuss and negotiate. But we are not there yet! The support against the bill is still small compared to the support for the bill. Last update regarding the committees: Committee on healthcare has voted 5:5, so the resolution in the committee does not recommend to pass the proposed legislation. It’s a small victory, but 5:5 is still dangerously balanced for us and our cause.

Thank you for all the support and we won't be silent!


17.09.2020 Update

Thanks a lot for the engagement on this action. While not fully confirmed, the debate and voting of the vote could happen towards the end of the month, but this could change. National organisations are working non-stop to influence key politicians. The protest in front of the parliament organised by the organisations, while small because of Covid-19 restrictions, had a lot of national media attention.

We encourage you to keep sending appeals to the targets.

Thank you so much for your support!
If you have received an answer from MP Anna Zemanova, you can respond to her
Many of you have received an answer from MP Anna Zemanova (see an example of the replies received below marked in yellow). She is a member of SaS (Freedom and Solidarity). The party is part of the coalition government but didn’t support the proposed bill in the first reading. (She was not present in the plenary when it was first voted in August). Activists can respond to her with the following recommendations:

- welcome the response and the fact that she is not supporting the bill

- urge her to use her influence to ensure that the rest of SaS MPs vote against the bill as if passed it will endanger the health and the life of women and girls in Slovakia;

- urge her to talk to her coalition government partners, namely in OĽANO, Za Ľudí and Sme Rodina to withdraw and/or not support the bill

Letter received by many activists from MP Anna Zemanova:

Dear X,

on behalf of Member of Parliament, Ms. Anna Zemanova, please let me follow up her standpoint regarding Abortion Act. First of all, Ms. Zemanova completely understands your concerns regarding the Abortion Act in Slovakia. She will not support Abortion act out of personal convinction, however as a woman and mother understands reasons why women decide to undergo it. Based on legislation in force, Ms. Zemanova is glad that the number of abortions decrease. 

She believes there is no reason to change current Act, when it works efficiently. As a matter of fact, to believe in liberal society where no abortion exist, is basically utopia. As an environmentalist, she is devoted in cases such as pollution of drinking water in the region of Rye Island, which she concerns as a searing issue of our modern society.

Best regards,

Mgr. Diana Rendesová
Assistant of MP


16.09.2020: Press release

The press release in English and French concerning today’s protests in Slovakia has just been shared.

Women’s access to safe abortion at risk

AI-Index: EUR 72/3039/2020

The Slovak Parliament is currently debating a bill that if passed will impose new barriers on abortion care, endangering the health and wellbeing of women and girls, and all people who could be seeking an abortion, and violating their human rights. If enacted, the bill will create a dangerous chilling effect on the provision of lawful abortion care in Slovakia, and increase the harmful stigma surrounding abortion. The Slovak Parliament must urgently reject this bill.


The Draft Law which Amends and Supplements Act No. 576/2004 Coll. of Laws on Healthcare, Healthcare-related Services, and on Amending and Supplementing Certain Acts As Amended, and which Amends and Supplements Certain Acts (Print no. 154, 19.06.2020), was first tabled in the Slovak Parliament (National Council) in July 2020 by OLANO (Ordinary People and Independent Personalities), the biggest party of the government coalition.

The bill was passed in first reading in August and sent to three different committees for further debate in September. As of 9 September, the Constitutional and Legal Affairs Committee has supported the proposed bill and recommended for the legislation to be approved by parliament. The other two committees (Social Affairs Committee and Health Committee) should deliver their opinion in the upcoming days. The bill is expected to be voted in second reading during the plenary session starting from 16 September. If passed, it will be voted on in a third and final reading.

Abortions are permitted in Slovakia in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. However, over the last few years, the country has introduced laws and policies to make access to timely and safe and legal abortion services more burdensome. On 18 October 2019, the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights noted that women in the Slovak Republic already face multiple barriers to sexual and reproductive health services, including access to safe abortion and contraceptives. This new bill will create additional barriers to health care and will have a heightened impact on women and girls from rural areas, living in poverty or victims of domestic and sexual violence.

It is not the first time the Slovak Parliament debates retrogressive legislation to obstruct safe access to abortion care. A bill tabled in November 2019 attempted to force people seeking an abortion to view an ultrasound scan of the embryo or foetus. The proposed measure was not justified by medical reasons and would have violated the person’s privacy, personal integrity, autonomy in decision-making about health care. Following national and international outrage the bill did not get the required votes and was dismissed.

In line with the international human rights law and standards, everyone should be able to make their own decisions about their bodies and have access to sexual and reproductive health services including safe abortion.

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