On the occasion of the Global day of Action for Access to Safe and Legal Abortion the Platform for Women’s Reproductive Rights organised, on 28 September at 18:00 in Zagreb, the protest entitled ″For free and available abortion″ in order to re-emphasize the systematic negligence and ignorance when it comes to the reproductive rights of female citizens of Republic of Croatia by institutions and in particular by the Government.
It is also indicated that reproductive rights should not be observed outside the context of other women’s rights.
The reason for the gathering on September 28th was also confirmed by some events that preceded the protest itself. First of all mayor of Zagreb Milan Bandić, two days before the session of the City Assembly dismissed completely out of the Development Strategy the notion of gender, which was an obvious example of the political pressure made by the right conservatives and which does not stop on the changes of the squares names only. And then the draft of Family Law was released in public debate, which was withdrawn on the day of the protest and which for the first time defined ″what the family is″ or who has the right to be defined as a family – exclusively heterosexual couples with children. What is also imposed is counselling during the divorce, even in the case of domestic violence and all under the pretence of ″protecting family, marriage, and children″.
In order to emerge from the debate on women’s reproductive rights, which is focused only on the question ″when does the life begin″ thanks to neoconservative currents, on the protest was clearly stated that the fight for women’s reproductive rights contains not only the right to terminate or plan the pregnancy but also the right to free and quality public health, preschool education, safe working positions and solidary housing policy. The fight for reproductive rights makes part of the fight for other socio-economic rights.
Approximately 200 persons gathered in the protest, where they stand up to defend the women’s reproductive rights which were gained by our grandmothers. The requirements were clear and loud – the suspension of ″appeals to consience″ in public institutions, which makes the legal service more inaccessible, the ratification of the Istanbul Convention, which beside of preventing violence against women contains guidelines that would prevent neoconservatives from interfering with women’s reproductive rights, accessible and free health services, which would include free and available abortion for all women, not only for privileged ones.
This protest is part of the global action resulting from the International Campaign for Women’s Right to Safe Abortion that began in 2011.
Photography by: Martina Kax Šalov