In Slovakia, women over the age of 40 will no longer be automatically reimbursed for abortion by health insurance companies, according to the Ministry of Health. The new decree has earned criticism from pro-abortion groups and left-wing political parties.
The decree on abortion, which will come into force on March 1, 2021, was justified by the Ministry of Health by the fact that the average age of mothers is still higher and their pregnancy is usually problem-free.
Ministry Spokeswoman Zuzana Eliášová noted that the original decree was created in the 1980s and the prenatal medicine has advanced significantly since then.
“By amending the decree, we are eliminating age discrimination. Only the medical indication of conception after the age of 40 has been omitted. If a woman in her forties has a medical indication other than age, nothing will change and the termination of the pregnancy will continue to be covered by public health insurance,” the spokeswoman added.
The decree has been criticized by Jana Bittó Cigániková, chairwoman of the health committee of the Slovak parliament, from the government’s Freedom and Solidarity party. According to the deputy, the minister of health, Marek Krajčí, should not impose “his religious beliefs on the whole of Slovakia”.
Possible challenge for the socially weak
The non-parliamentary movement Progressive Slovakia claims that charging for abortions over the age of 40 can be a financial problem for women from low-income groups.
“They might have several children whom they take care of or live with a violent partner who will not allow them to spend several hundred euros on abortion,” warned Progressive Slovakia.
The price for abortion in Slovakia ranges from €300 to €600 euros (7,700 to 15,000 korunas).
“If they don’t have the money, they will try another way that puts them at risk, and, in the worst cases, will endanger their lives,” the movement added.
Last year, 15,000 abortions were performed in Slovakia.
Title image: A protester opposed to abortion demonstrates outside the Marie Stopes clinic in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Thursday, 18, 2012. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)