A call for solidarity with Lithuanian women in maintaining the control over their own bodies
What is it about?
Lithuanian Parliament is currently deliberating the draft law on “Law on the protection of a life in a pre-natal phase” and accompanying legislative projects, otherwise known as “abortion ban bill”.
The law considers abortion a criminal act punishable for up to three years imprisonment.
The law equates women who terminate pregnancies to the murderers of unborn children.
The law blatantly limits woman’s right to choose by allowing terminating pregnancy in only two cases: if it poses an evident threat to life of a mother or if a pregnancy is a result of a rape. Even in the latter instance, the victim of a rape has only 12 weeks to prove the rape case and terminate the pregnancy.
On 11 December 2013, the Health Committee of the Lithuanian Parliament has agreed to a bill. Currently it is pending before other committees, but strong pressure from the defenders of “traditional and family values” led by the Catholic Church has all chances to result in the adoption of the law.
We call for international solidarity action condemning the curtailment of women rights in Lithuania. We draw the inspiration from the colleagues in Spain that are successfully trying to stop similar legislative changes in their country with a help of an international community.
To support the right of Lithuanian women to control their own bodies:
Join more than 4.000 supporters in signing the petition below.*
Initiate a personal appeal by addressing the Lithuanian MPs and requesting a vote “against”. The personal appeal e-form together with the list of Lithuania MPs is available here: http://www.laisva.lt/laiskas-seimo-nariams/
Promote EU-wide solidarity by addressing your MEP and calling for public condemnation of legislative initiatives undermining the fundamental rights and Union’s values. The list of MEPs together with their e-mail addresses can be found here: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/meps/en/search.html?country=LT
We firmly oppose to the proposed abortion ban law in Lithuania, as this law abolishes a women’s right to make decisions over their body.
We cannot tolerate a desire of the State and Roman Catholic Church representatives (most of them – men) to limit the choices over the private and intimate life of women. We cannot allow ruining the lives of Lithuanian women and girls by suppressing their freedom of choice. This law will only force women to seek illegal and unsafe ways to have an abortion. Therefore, we urge to reject the “Law on the protection of a life in a pre-natal phase” as inconsistent with Lithuanian international obligations towards its citizens. This law also lacks any sound ground as there is an extensive scholarship proving the negative consequences of the regulation alike on the women’s health and well-being which convinced many of the concerned governments to eradicate religiously charged abortion prohibition laws as early as the end of 20th century.
A right of woman to make a decision about whether to deliver a child or not is covered by the international human rights law. European Convention of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, Article 8 establishes the right of every individual to respect for his private and family life. According to the first paragraph of the Article 8 of the Convention, ‘every woman has a right to decide on the termination of pregnancy’, and in accordance with the second paragraph of the Article 8 ‘an interference with this right cannot be justified’.
Abortion is prohibited in just a few European countries: Malta and Ireland. Malta is a country where until 2011 even divorces were not allowed. In Ireland, the Catholicism is used as an image-building part, and where divorce became legal only from 1996 (below 10 years). Notably, even Ireland and Malta is currently considering repealing this outdated and in all ways damaging regulation. Church is furiously and often successfully fighting over women’s full body and brain control in Lithuania, Poland and Spain.
However, such cases as distinctive Halappanavar death (Ireland) and Alicja Tysiac’s loss of eyesight (Poland), reveals the cruelty of these ‘moral’ laws and lack of logic. The strictest version of Catholicism is neither heritage nor tradition.
Proposed abortion ban would not only violate a woman’s right to private life, but also would open the way for illegal abortion, which would be a significant threat to woman’s health and life. International law clearly indicates that banning abortion does not stop women from unwanted pregnancy terminations; however, these are performed in other countries with a considerable threat to physical, mental health and prone to life-threatening side effects.
The project promoters state in the explanatory memorandum that the need for such a law reflects the expectations of its citizens. However, 2010 Sprinter Research poll shows – that 84 percent of Lithuanian population supports a woman’s decision to terminate the free unwanted pregnancy.
The explanatory memorandum states that abortion is today one of the factors influencing the low moral level of society and critical demographic situation. The Guttmacher Institute has proved long ago that the absence of a link between prohibition of abortion and the birth rate, since the growth of a birth rate is a result of socio-economic security, not tyrannical laws.
The explanatory memorandum does not explain the negative consequences which the prohibition will have, if enacted. As the experience in other countries shows, it will provide a space for illegal, unsafe abortions and practices of corruption. In Poland, each year there are performed 80-150 illegal abortions.
The United Nations, especially the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the World Health Organization and the Council of Europe urged the Member States to decriminalize abortion, giving women the freedom to choose, to lift restrictions on women to decide on the termination of unwanted pregnancies and to ensure the quality of sexual education and affordable contraception.
We encourage you to oppose to the “Law on the protection of a life in a pre-natal phase”!
* Lithuanian Centre for Human Rights, House for Diversity and Education and Kaunas Women’s Society drafted the petition.
TO SIGN please fill in the form below:
Let us oppose with arguments those who voted FOR “Abortion ban bill”
Please find bellow the overview of the votes of Members of the Parliament on the “Abortion ban bill” on 28/05/2013:
Lithuanian Poles’ Electoral Action Political Group – LLRAF has initiated this bill and is unanimously supporting it:
8 of total 8 members (all members present) voted FOR this bill:
Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrat Political Group – TSLKDF is strongly supporting this bill:
20 of 23 present members (total 33 members) voted FOR this bill:
Mr Adomėnas Mantas; Ms Aleknaitė Abramikienė Vilija; Mr Ažubalis Audronius; Mr Dagys Rimantas Jonas; Ms Degutienė Irena; Mr Dumčius Arimantas; Mr Jankauskas Donatas; Ms Juknevičienė Rasa; Mr Juozapaitis Vytautas; Mr Kazlavickas Liutauras; Mr Kreivys Dainius; Mr Kubilius Andrius; Mr Kuzminskas Kazimieras; Mr Razma Jurgis; Mr Saudargas Paulius; Mr Strelčiūnas Algis; Mr Stundys Valentinas; Mr Šedbaras Stasys; Mr Vareikis Egidijus; Mr Žeimys Pranas.
Non-attached Members – MG are supporting this bill:
2 of 2 members present (total 4 members) voted FOR this bill:
Labour Party Political Group – DPF are supporting this bill:
8 of 17 members present (total 29 members) voted FOR this bill:
Order and Justice Political Group – TTF are supporting this bill:
2 of 4 members present (total 10 members) voted FOR this bill:
“The Way of Courage” Political Group – DKF are supporting this bill:
4 of 5 members present (total 7 members) voted FOR this bill:
Lithuanian Social Democratic Party Political Group – LSDPF are divided about this bill as majority is abstaining:
2 of 23 members present (total 40 members) voted FOR this bill:
Let us convince those who ABSTAINED to uphold the rights of women until it is not too late:
Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrat Political Group – TSLKDF
Labour Party Political Group – DPF
Order and Justice Political Group – TTF
“The Way of Courage” Political Group – DKF are supporting this bill
Lithuanian Social Democratic Party Political Group – LSDPF are divided about this bill as majority is abstaining
Mr Bastys Mindaugas; Mr Jonyla Edmundas; Mr Juodka Benediktas; Ms Miškinienė Kristina; Mr Mitrulevičius Albinas; Mr Palionis Andrius; Ms Popovienė Raminta; Mr Saulis Vytautas; Mr Simulik Valerijus; Ms Šiaulienė Irena; Mr Zeltinis Aleksandras; Mr Žakaris Edvardas
Liberals Movement Political Group
Mr Kašėta Algis
Finally, let us thank for those who voted AGAINST the bill curbing women rights:
Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrat Political Group
1 voted AGAINST the bill:
Labour Party Political Group
2 voted AGAINST the bill:
Mr Kondrotas Jonas; Mr Markauskas Raimundas
Lithuanian Social Democratic Party Political Group
9 voted AGAINST the bill:
Ms Leiputė Orinta; Ms Monkauskaitė Alma; Ms Pavilionienė Marija Aušrinė; Mr Petrošius Darius; Ms Purvaneckienė Giedrė; Mr Sabatauskas Julius; Mr Salamakinas Algimantas; Mr Sysas Algirdas; Ms Šalaševičiūtė Rimantė
Liberals Movement Political Group – LLS is the only party, which is strongly opposing this bill
7 of 8 members present (total 10 members) voted AGAINST the bill: