An attempt by the Vatican to reduce the number of abortions in one of central Europe's most staunchly Roman Catholic countries is being challenged by the EU. A legal panel appointed by the European commission has attacked a draft treaty between Slovakia and the Vatican that would have restricted sensitive medical treatment such as abortions and IVF.
The panel's intervention came in a 41-page report on the draft treaty, which was drawn up in March 2003. The treaty would allow healthcare workers in hospitals founded by the Catholic church to refuse to perform abortions or carry out fertility treatment on "conscience" grounds if they believe such work conflicts with their faith.
Their concerns were backed by the EU group. It said "certain religious organisations" should have the right not to perform "certain activities where this would conflict with [their] ethos or belief". But it added: "It is important the exercise of this right does not conflict with the rights of others, including the right of all women to receive certain medical services or counselling without any discrimination."
Approximately 70% of the population in Slovakia - which joined the EU in May 2004 - is Catholic.
"There is a risk that the recognition of a right to exercise objection of conscience in the field of reproductive healthcare will make it in practice impossible or very difficult for women to receive advice or treatment ... especially in rural areas."
Read the complete article EU challenges Vatican's draft abortion treaty from Guardian Unlimited.
You can exercise your freedom of conscience, except when it comes to women who want an abortion, who want to exercise their freedom to murder what you view as a live human being. Check, got it.