Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

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EU abortion roundup: Albania gender imbalance due to sex-selection; Spanish abortion bankrupt

Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

Albania struggling with “gender disparity” from sex-selective abortions

The Council of Europe has revealed that sex-selective abortion is widely practiced in Albania and the result is a growing gulf between the numbers of boys and the number of girls. Recent statistics show that for every 100 Albanian girls 112 boys are born. In natural demographic growth, the number of girls usually slightly exceeds the number of boys.

The Council of Europe warns that sex-selection, once associated mainly with Asian countries, has become popular in Europe, particularly in Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia.

“Traditionally Albanian families have favoured boys over girls for two main reasons: the inheritance of the family name and the prospect of boys growing up to become breadwinners,” a 2005 report by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) said.

Abortion in Albania was legalized in 1995 after the fall of the communist government. It is now available on demand up to the 12th week of pregnancy.

The European news service Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso quotes Rubena Moisiu, the chief physician at the Kico Gliozheni abortion facility in Tirana, “There are no accurate statistics, but based on our surveys made in the largest gynaecological clinic in the country, in 2010 alone there were 470 abortions, the main causes of which were economic reasons, deformities and the sex of the foetus.”

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Spanish abortion bankrupt; broke govt’ owes 5 million Euros

Since the loosening of Spain’s abortion laws in 2010 to allow abortion on request at public expense, the government is in the red to the tune of nearly €5 million in missed payments to individual abortion facilities and abortionists. The newly elected government, which is mired in one of the country’s worst financial crises, has not been able to make clear how it expects to pay its debts.

After seven years of expansively socialist government, the election in November last year of the conservative Popular Party has significantly changed the country’s abortion landscape. The new Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon said that abortion would be restricted once again according to the 1985 law thrown out by the Zapatero socialists. The Spanish abortion rate has more than doubled from 54,000 in 1998 to 112,000 in 2007.

But the abortions that have already been committed still have to be paid for by the government under the law. Timothy Herrmann, the UN Representative for the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-FAM) in New York, writes that in Madrid the situation is especially dire where private hospitals have been unable to pay their abortion bills for over a year.

“Public hospitals are even further behind and there is no sign of catching up. Most abortions are conducted at private clinics however, and the question remains on how they have been able to cover the cost of the abortion services they provide without government funding.”

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