Only less than 10 percent of people in Slovakia would support tougher conditions on access to abortions.
This stems from a recent poll carried out by the AKO agency for the junior coalition party Freedom and Solidarity (SaS). It was conducted while the parliament is supposed to discuss a draft submitted by a group of MPs from the senior coalition party Ordinary People and Ordinary Personalities (OĽaNO), led by the ultraconservative Anna Záborská.
Even though women in Slovakia face several obstacles when seeking legal abortion, as stems from a recent survey by the Možnosť Voľby (Freedom of Choice) non-governmental organisation, the proposal is likely to make access even harder, as said by several experts in the gynaecology and obstetrics field as well as women’s and reproductive rights advocates. This includes the proposal to prolong the waiting period before the procedure from the current 48 hours to 72 hours, even for women seeking abortions for medical reasons.
The authors of the draft say that they want to help pregnant women and families as the proposal also contains some benefits, like the contribution to purchasing a car.
Recently, a different group of OĽaNO MPs submitted an amending proposal to Záborská’s draft, suggesting that it should drop restricting precautions and only keep social and economic benefits, the Denník N daily reported.
What did the survey show?
Only 7.9 percent of respondents, surveyed by AKO between October 21 and 25 on 1,000 respondents, said that current abortion legislation should restrict the current conditions and access to legal abortions.
On the other hand, 32.1 percent said the law should remain in its current shape, and 30.5 percent even said that the law should be amended in a way that will improve access to legal abortions. The latter option was mostly supported by the voters of Za Ľudí, Progressive Slovakia, and SaS. There was quite high support among the voters of the far-right People’s Party Our Slovakia (ĽSNS), whose representatives have submitted several other proposals restricting access to abortions.
The tougher rules on access to abortions was mostly supported by the voters of the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH), while the voters of the Hungarian party Alliance and opposition parties Smer and Hlas would keep the status quo.
The survey also showed that 44.3 percent of respondents opine that state hospitals should certainly carry out abortions, and 29.7 percent said that they should probably perform the procedure. Only 6.8 percent said state hospitals should not carry out abortions, and 3.1 percent said they should be banned completely.
As for the waiting period before the procedure, 40.7 percent said it is not necessary, while 26.7 percent said there should be such a period.
The pollster also asked about medication abortion, also known as an abortion pill, which many experts consider a safer method than surgical abortion. Slovak legislation currently does not offer this possibility. About 40.2 percent of respondents said they would support its introduction, and 8.2 percent said that the surgical method is safer. About one-third of respondents could not answer the question, claiming that they lack sufficient information.
The introduction of the abortion pill is mostly supported by the voters of Progressive Slovakia, Za Ľudí, Dobrá Voľba and SaS.