By Thaddeus M. Baklinski

BRATISLAVA, Slovakia, December 5, 2007 ( – Judges of the constitutional court ruled yesterday that allowing abortions until 24 weeks gestation “did not comply with the constitution,” but that a basic 12-week deadline for abortion was in line with the “prevailing practice of relevant European legislation.” The court said that it “did not try to answer philosophical, moral or ethical questions” but only sought to decide about the compliance of existing abortion rules with the constitution.

Daniel Lipsic of the Slovakian Christian Democratic political party submitted a request to the courts to ban abortions six years ago, but the case was delayed due to the shortage of constitutional court judges. Abortion was made legal in 1958 in Slovakia, then part of the Czechoslovak Republic, under the Communist rule of Russia. Article 15 of the country’s new 1992 constitution, however, safeguards the right to life including the life of the unborn.

Though the court ruled against the request to ban abortion, the limits now placed on abortion may be seen as another victory for the Pro Life cause in this predominantly Catholic country.

In early September, 2007, LifeSiteNews reported on the show-the-truth billboard campaign launched by Pravo Na Zivot (Right To Life), an initiative of the Centre for Bioethical Reform (CBR Europe) in Slovakia. This campaign was so successful that it compelled the country’s Health Ministry to rescinded a law that forced all hospitals to provide abortions.

Pro Life advocates are now working on a proposal that would give hospital staff the right to refuse to do abortions on religious grounds, based on “recognizing the freedom of conscience in the protection and promotion of values intrinsic to the meaning of human life.”

Demographically, Slovakia, a nation of 5 million, cannot afford to lose any more of its future generations, and there is hope in the findings of studies that show the number of abortions has gone down by more than 70 percent since the collapse of communism.

Zora Bútorová, graduate of Comenius University in Bratislava, author of numerous studies and articles on political culture and value orientations in post-Communist Slovakia, and currently resident scholar of the Slovak Institute for Public Affairs said, “the rapid decrease in the number of abortions shows that since 1989 the sense of responsibility of both women and men on this issue has increased considerably.”

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