ZAGREB - Although women have the legal right to abortion across the vast majority of countries in Europe, women in some east European countries are finding it tougher to terminate pregnancies. Our grantees looked into examples of Croatia, Romania, and Poland.
A team of three journalists (Lina Vdovii from Romania, Michael Bird from the United Kingdom and Blaz Zgaga from Slovenia) follows the stories of women in Romania, Poland, and Croatia, who did not have access to abortions.
In Romania, their research shows that over one-quarter of public hospitals are not performing abortions, while the majority of health workers in Croatia and hospitals in Poland - in cases where the procedure is legal - are not providing this service.
This is happening because doctors are invoking a “conscience clause” to refuse to conduct abortions on ethical and religious grounds. However, at an institutional level, hospitals are not allowed to refuse a patient such care.
The investigation also reveals that constant efforts are underway in all three countries to make their abortion laws stricter. In Poland, a law to ban abortion in all cases failed to pass in parliament, in Croatia, the debate on changing the law continues, while in Romania, there are the seeds of a new initiative to change the law.
Meanwhile, American and religious pro-life groups have been active in these countries for over 15 years, and we look at who is financing the anti-abortion cause in Croatia and Romania. Groups associated with the pro-life cause have also been active at the EU level, lobbying European institutions, and we examine their spending record and quiz them about their activities.
© Photo: Michael Bird
- Groups linked to Pro-Life cause, Catholic Church in EU allocate €2.1 to €3.1m annually to lobby EU - National.hr, 09/07/2019.
- Una red de 21 organizaciones dedica dos millones al año a hacer lobby ultracatólico en Bruselas - Infolibre, 09/07/2019.
- Why 60 Romanian hospitals are refusing abortions - EUObserver, 11/07/2019.
- Over 30 percent of hospitals in Romania are refusing legal abortions - Black Sea, 11/07/2019.
- Obiecția de conștiință. Doctorii români în lupta mișcării mondiale anti-avort, Libertatea, 11/07/2019.
- Why are women from Croatia going to Slovenia for abortions?, National.hr, 16/07/2019.
- The Abortion Exodus - more Poles and Croats going abroad, EUObserver, 16/07/2019.
- US billionaires funding EU culture war, EUObserver, 22/08/2019
- Abortion Wars (podcast), EUObserver, 21/07/2019
need resources for your own investigative story?
Journalismfund.eu’s flexible grants programmes enable journalists to produce relevant public interest stories with a European mind-set from international, national, and regional perspectives.
support independent cross-border investigative journalism
We rely on your support to continue the work that we do. Make a gift of any amount today.