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Women's Reproductive Rights Network demands free (publicly funded) and accessible (for all) abortions in Croatia

Like many European countries, Croatia has found itself amidst a revival of right-wing fundamentalist attacks on human rights, including women's rights. Influential ultraconservative groups and individuals have been putting into question a women's right to access safe and legal abortions, which have been socially acceptable and legal in Croatia since 1978. In addition to a growing number of doctors refusing to perform the procedure at public hospitals, influential ultraconservative civil society organizations have copied campaigns from North and South America, including the harassment of women and doctors by pro-life agitators in front of hospitals, an annual Walk for Life (which in 2016 was attended by the wife of then Prime Minister Tihomir Orešković), and a pro-life media campaign including commercials, documentaries and huge billboards across cities and towns.

In March 2017 the Constitutional Court ordered the right-wing Parliament to make a new law in two years time, with growing fears from women's health advocates that the right-wing parliament will be unduly influenced by the ultraconservative forces currently attacking women's rights.

In response to these fundamentalist attacks on women's reproductive rights in Croatia, a group of over 20 civil society organizations, activists, academics and concerned citizens joined to form the Women's Reproductive Rights Network in 2017. On September 28th, 2017, on the Global Day of Action for Access to Safe and Legal Abortions, the Network organized a public demonstration and protest in one of the most busy commercial and social areas of the capital city Zagreb, demanding that abortions be free (publicly funded) and accessible (to all), and putting the latest attacks on women's health in the context of growing privatizazion of health services and increasing socio-economic inequalities in the country. Emphasizing that an abortion ban would only affect women of low income who could not travel to another country to access this health procedure, the demonstration also called out the current state of affairs where rural women have to travel and pay out-of-pocket for abortions in private clinics when the public system fails to provide them.

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