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02.03.2017 | 21:23 | IKA E - 187834/3

Statement by the President of the Council of the CCB for Life and the Family on a Recent Decision by the Constitutional Court

If the right to life is a prerequisite for all other rights, how can other rights be equated to this right?

Dubrovnik, (IKA) – In a statement to Croatian Catholic Radio (HKR) on the recent decision by the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Croatia to reject a proposal to institute proceedings for reviewing the constitutionality of the Law on Health Care Measures regarding the exercise of the right to decide freely on giving birth to children, the President of the Council of the Croatian Conference of Bishops for Life and the Family, Bishop Mate Uzinić of Dubrovnik, said the following:

"After I listened to the press conference, my impression was that the Constitutional Court had received a task for which the solution had already been outlined in advance, and then made sure that what was written would be aligned with said solution. I think that this is primarily a political decision rather than a legal one."

The bishop particularly focused on the highly contradictory explanation issued in response to criticism that this decision is in violation of the Constitution of 1990.

Stating that the Constitution is a whole and no provision should be interpreted without reference to the others, he pointed out that the right to life is a prerequisite for all the other rights ensuing from it, although it is equated here with the right to freedom and privacy, said the bishop, and added: "If the right to life is a prerequisite for all other rights, how can other rights be equated to this right?"

It is not clear from the explanation whether an unborn being is a human being and whether Article 21 applies to him. According to one part of the explanation, the article applies to him and according to the other part it does not, he added. "All of this speaks in support of my first impression that this is a task prepared in advance with the final decision, and everything else contained in the explanation, starting with the moral issue to the presentation of the constitutions of other countries, which have nothing to do with the Croatian Constitution, is further evidence thereof."

In response to a journalist's question whether the Catholic Church can do something or whether it relies on the activities of various pro-life organizations and initiatives, Bishop Uzinić answered: "We are not called to change the laws. We are called to provide certain guidelines, which we try to do. Naturally, we support organizations that are legitimately fighting for the protection of life from conception to natural death."

He also pointed out some positive aspects of the decision by the Constitutional Court: "I think that it is positive that a deadline was issued for drafting a new law that will be in compliance with the Constitution, thereby providing the opportunity to improve matters. I personally welcome the final incentive that in addition to the new law, measures should be determined that the Constitutional Court deems appropriate to create educational and preventive programs, to stipulate a period for reflection prior to the final decision on an abortion, in order to provide the mother with information on the options for obtaining care for herself and the child. This attempt by the Constitutional Court, which seeks to mitigate this unacceptable decision, nevertheless transforms abortion into something that should be an exception."

The bishop emphasized that this is his initial impression to the decision by the Constitutional Court and that those who understand the issues better will be able to provide more profound responses.


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