By Patrick Craine
May 28, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A new Criminal Code being prepared in Romania proposes to declare unborn babies as persons once they have reached 24 weeks gestation, and to ban abortion after that stage of development.
Abortion is currently prohibited after 14 weeks, with an exception granted where the health of the mother is at risk, a clause which has been interpreted liberally in the past. The proposal up for debate in Parliament would disallow this exception after 24 weeks. The killing or harming of the child would be criminally punishable for both the mother and the doctor.
Abortion is rampant in Romania, as in all post-Communist countries; however, the number of abortions has dropped significantly since the collapse of communism. According to the Romanian Statistical Yearbook, in 1990 there were nearly one million abortions, or about 3200 abortions per 1000 live births. In 2003, LSN reported that Romania had a 70% abortion rate. Yet, while still shockingly high, the Yearbook reports that in 2006 there were about 150,000 abortions, or about 700 per 1000 live births, a sizable drop from the former 3200 per 1000.
Many pro-abortion organizations in Romania, however, say the proposed changes to the law would be disastrous for the health of women, reports Le Courrier des Balkans. In a letter to members of Parliament on May 5, a group of NGOs wrote:
“Such a law would cause a significant decline of certain fundamental rights such as those to life, health, like the rights not to be subjected to inhuman or demeaning treatment and the right to non-discrimination on grounds of gender.”
The chair of the sub-committee responsible for the Code, Victor Ponta, disagrees, according Le Courrier des Balkans. Ponta pointed that under the proposed legislation women’s lives would not be threatened, since a premature birth “may be done when it involves the death of the child, but saves the life of the mother.”
See related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:
Romania Capitulates to International Pressure and Approves Abortion for 20-Week-Old Fetus
Romania Has 70 % Abortion Rate
Romania: Abortions Continue to Exceed Live Births