I am writing to express my deep concern about the foreseen vote on a bill that aims to restrict access to legal and safe abortions in Slovakia. If passed, the bill will require women seeking abortion to undergo a mandatory ultrasound scanning, to view and obtain an ultrasound image of the embryo or the foetus, and where technically possible, to also listen to the “heartbeat of the embryo or the foetus".
I am very concerned that these measures will harm women’s health, well-being and obstruct their access to safe abortion.
Forcing women to view ultrasound images of their embryo or foetus is an act aimed to subject them to stigma and humiliation. It would be a gross violation of women’s right to privacy and integrity.
I consider abortions to be a personal matter, and women should be able to make this difficult decision without state actions in order to influence or persuade them.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has concluded there is no medical reason for routine ultrasound prior to abortion. Instead they have underlined that women’s decisions to access abortion care should be respected and that safe abortion should be “delivered in a way that respects a woman’s dignity, guarantees her right to privacy and is sensitive to her needs and perspectives".
I respectfully urge you to take all necessary steps to ensure the Slovak Parliament rejects any additions to the law that restricts women's sexual and reproductive rights in Slovakia.