HRMI Submitted Observations on the Draft Law Aiming to Ban Abortions

September 2, 2013

During the autumn session parliamentary committees will consider the draft Law on Protection of Life in Prenatal Stage of Development. In HRMI’s view, such draft law is in conflict with Lithuanian obligations under international human rights law: European Convention on Human Rights, UN Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, and UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The law aims to establish a general prohibition to terminate pregnancy providing for only two exceptions: when pregnancy causes risk to woman‘s health or life; when there are reasons to believe that pregnancy is a result of a criminal activity.

Legal prohibition to terminate pregnancy amounts to interference into woman’s right to respect for her private life. HRMI considers that such prohibition in Lithuania would be contrary to obligations under the European Human Rights Convention as interpreted by the European Court of Human Rights in its case-law.

HRMI noted that, despite the exceptions, general prohibition to terminate pregnancy obstructs access to safe abortions even in cases of these exceptions. Such legal regulation has a chilling effect on doctors and deters them from terminating pregnancy even when it causes a real risk to woman’s health and life, or in cases of fetus malformation or when pregnancy is the result of rape.

In its submission to the Human Rights Committee and the Committee on Legal Affairs HRMI urged the Committees to reject in full the proposed draft law and all related amendments of Civil and Criminal Codes.

Full text of the submission in Lithuanian can be found here.