Sunday, February 21, 2021


Abortion can be a divisive topic for some.  Some people argue that an embryo or foetus is human being so abortion equals murder.  Others view abortion as a cornerstone of a woman's right to make decisions about her own body.  Religion deepens the divide between the two sides.  Globally there are about 56 million abortions performed each year.  Roughly 45% of these are not performed safely which to me makes it a matter of public health.  

Abortion was legalised but with restrictions in Czechoslovakia in 1957.  In 1986 the restrictions were lifted.  The increased availability of contraception and sex education have contributed to decrease in the number of abortions performed in the country.

In Czechland it is legal to have a an abortion up to 12 weeks of pregnancy for any reason.  Abortions are allowed up to 24 weeks for some medical reasons and at any time due to a malformed foetus.  Abortions for non-medical reasons are not covered by the public health system.  The average price is around 4500 Kč ($205 or €170).  

EU citizens can legally come to the Czech Republic for an abortion.  This is good news for women in Poland.  Only around 1000 legal abortions were performed in Poland each year because the country already had some of the most restrictive abortion laws in Europe.  The Polish government now only allows abortion in cases of rape, incest, or when the pregnancy threatens the mother's life.  Abortions due to foetal abnormalities are no longer allowed.

This has led to mass protests against the Polish government.  A red lighting bolt has become the main symbol at Poland's pro-choice demonstrations.  It's estimated that 100.000 women each year travel to another country, usually Germany, Czech Republic, or Slovakia, for a safe and legal abortion.  The scary number is how many women have unsafe "back alley" procedures because it is illegal in Poland?  

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