Croatian Health Minister Backtracks on Comments Suggesting Church Involvement in New Abortion Law

Croatian Health Minister Milan Kujundžić (founder of the former right wing popu­list party Croatian Dawn— Party of the People) retracted his comments suggesting that the Catholic church would have representatives in the working group that will draft the country’s new abortion law. In February 2017, the Constitutional Court of Croatia reaffirmed the constitutionality of abortion, rejecting claims made by conservative groups and individuals that allowing women access to abortion on request was unconstitutional. Nevertheless the court’s decision called on Croatia’s Parliament to pass a new abortion law within two years of its ruling. With only one year left, Minister Kujundžić must assemble a working group of experts to gather legislative solutions and best practices from other EU member states to guide the drafting of the new law. Speaking at a press conference in late March, Minister Kujundžić claimed “in a democratic society whenever a law is being prepared the public debate can include all stakeholders and individuals including the Catholic church.” After facing a public backlash, he later clarified that he did not mean to suggest that church leaders would be part of the working group members.

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