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Croatia / Constitutional Court / U-I-60/1991

Applicants: Nike Karabaić, Antun Lisec from Vetovo, Hrvatski pokret za život i obitelj, Hrvatski katolički zbor "MI", Stjepan Herceg, U ime obitelji association, Saša Čajić and Daniel Majer

Policy area:
Public Health
Deciding Body type:
National Court/Tribunal
Deciding Body:
Constitutional Court
Decision date:

Key facts of the case:

In the period from 1991 to 2016, seven applicants, both natural persons and civil society organizations, lodged requests to challenge the constitutionality of the legislation regulating child birth decision making, which grants abortion on request during the first ten weeks of pregnancy and thereafter in the case of indications. The applicants claimed that the Act on health measures for exercising the right to free decision-making on childbirth (Zakon o zdravstvenim mjerama za ostvarivanje prava na slobodno odlučivanje o rađanju djece) is not constitutional, as Article 21 of the Constitution grants the right to life that is placed before and above all other human rights.

Outcome of the case:

The legislation which allows for an abortion on request during the first 10 weeks of pregnancy and thereafter in cases of medical, ethical and eugenic indications is compatible with the Constitution. It maintains a fair balance between the right to privacy of a pregnant woman and the public interest for the protection of unborn life, which is a constitutional value. The Constitutional Court ordered the legislator to draft educational and preventative measures to make termination of pregnancy an exception. The Court ordered the Croatian Parliament to enact new legislation in accordance with the contemporary circumstances and challenges within two years.