Abortion amendment bill contested

According to a bill originated by Democrat-Liberal Deputies Sulfina Barbu and Marius Dragulescu, abortions-on-demand would only be made if approved by a psychologist and not just on the basis of a gynecologist’s appointment as it is the case now. The bill, which is published on the Chamber of Deputies website, stipulates that the women willing to have an abortion must first obtain a certificate dispensed by a psychologist after at least one counseling session during which the they will be shown photographs or films dealing with abortion and also watch the ecography of the baby they carry in their womb.  The bill however leaves up to the woman whether to keep the baby or not. Lawmakers ground the bill the high number of abortions in this country, mostly among the young women yet to have a baby. In its current form, the law allows abortions up to 12 weeks of pregnancy. Aside the 51 deputies and senators, ten non-governmental organizations back the bill, among which the Pro-vita Federation Orthodox Organizations in Romania, Pro Vita Medica Foundation in Timisoara, Arsenie Boca Christian Association, Noua Speranta <New Hope> Center of Deva and the Family Alliance in Romania.Other segment of the civil society however opposes the bill. Last week, over 20 non-governmental organizations called on the proposal being rejected on grounds of “manipulating the personal decisions of the ale patients”. The NGOs hold that the bill “ties women’s access to medical services involving the voluntary interruption of pregnancy to their attending a counseling session”.  The NGOs opposing the bill include ECPI –Euro-regional Centre for Public Initiative, IPP – the Institute for Public Policies and SECS – Society for Sexual and Contraceptive Education.  Rovana Plumb, president of the women’s organization of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) said that Social-Democrat women too rally to the stand by the NGOs opposing the Democratic Liberal Party (PDL) draft amendment, saying that, while sexual counseling and education are necessary, they shouldn’t be mandatory  . Health State Secretary Cristian Irimie on Monday explained that the Ministry considers psychological counseling useful for women willing to have an abortion, which is a current practice elsewhere in Europe, yet abortions cannot be banned, as this would mean an infringement on patient rights.

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