Parliament at its session on Monday, Ocotber 29, voted down Freedom and Solidarity’s (SaS) bill on free optional sterilisations, the TASR newswire learnt.
A mere 15 out of 133 MPs present backed SaS's idea that people with at least four children and those aged over 35 with at least three children would be entitled to free sterilisation. The idea garnered support only from members of SaS's caucus and a few legislators representing Ordinary People and Independent Personalities (OĽaNO) and Slovak Christian and Democratic Union (SDKÚ).
Former labour ministry state secretary Lucia Nicholsonová, who submitted the bill, reasoned that the law could cut the number of abortions. "There are tendencies that indicate that the more liberal the approach, the smaller the number of abortions," she said recently. It was mostly Christian Democrat Movement (KDH) and OĽaNO MPs who spoke out against the bill during a five-hour parliamentary debate on the issue. While former health minister Ivan Uhliarik (KDH) pointed to the irreversibility of sterilization, saying that it could turn out to be a tragic mistake, OĽaNO head Igor Matovic said that work, rather than sterilisation, should have a prominent place in policies aimed at cutting down the birth rate among women living in Roma settlements [many of whom are unemployed].
Nicholsonová also recently observed that voluntary sterilisation is a common form of contraception in a number of European countries. The charge for such operations in Slovakia amounts to €300-€500. The cost can be even more in the case of private facilities and this is too expensive for most Slovak families, she said.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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30. Oct 2012 at 10:00