Humanists International and its Croatian Member, Center for Civil Courage, have jointly criticized the Croatian government’s failure to uphold women’s reproductive rights (watch the video at 33’50”), during the adoption of a report on Croatia’s human rights record, concluding the Universal Periodic Review process, at the 46th session of the UN Human Rights Council (16th March 2021).
The Croatian government defended its position by arguing that “conscientious objectors” are legally required to refer patients to a medical professional willing to perform the procedure. Peratovic pointed out in response, however, that referrals are “unregulated” in practice. In discharging their referral duty, hospitals do not take into account the disproportionate economic and psychological burden placed on women who are forced to travel long distances to access abortion services.
Ideological pressure also arises from the powerful anti-abortion movement in Croatia, which engages in online and offline harassment and disinformation campaigns aiming “to instill fear and to mislead women about their rights.”