Medical commission gives approval for Croatian woman’s abortion
Published: May 12, 2022 04:38 PM
Photo taken on Jan. 18, 2022 shows a full Moon above Split, Croatia.(Photo: Xinhua)

Photo taken on Jan. 18, 2022 shows a full Moon above Split, Croatia.(Photo: Xinhua)

A Croatian woman who was denied an abortion although her fetus had serious health issues was allowed to undergo the procedure, a minister said on Wednesday, in a case that sparked nationwide outrage.

The story rocked the European Union country where Catholic Church-backed conservative groups aspire to curb the right to abortion, which is legal until the 10th week of pregnancy.

After that period it can be performed if the health of the mother or fetus is seriously jeopardized, as well as in cases of rape or incest.

But abortion is becoming more restricted as rising religious pressure sways doctors to refuse it citing moral grounds.

Nearly 60 percent of gynecologists in Croatia's public hospitals refuse to perform abortion on moral grounds, official figures show.

The unborn child of Mirela Cavajda was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor in late April, in the sixth month of pregnancy.

Doctors told the 39-year-old, who already has one child, that the fetus would either die or if born would have serious defects, she told local media.

They advised Cavajda to seek help in neighboring Slovenia.

Meanwhile, four public hospitals in the capital Zagreb refused to carry out the abortion without explanation or saying they could not confirm the diagnosis or lacked the necessary conditions.

But Croatian Health Minister Vili Beros on Wednesday said a medical "commission allowed the termination of [Cavajda's] pregnancy."

"The situation is extremely difficult" as the MRI scan of her fetus' brain showed, he told reporters.

That is why the commission estimated that "both medical and legal preconditions for the approval of abortion have been met," the minister said in a statement.