'Abortion is a woman’s right!' Initiative
Petition to be considered by Parliament and local council
On 3rd September 2009, Vienna’s ‘Greens’ began collecting signatures on a petition headed “Abortion is a woman’s right!”. With their help, a four-point petition should be put before the National Council and the Vienna City Council.
The first point calls for abortion to be decriminalised by removing it from the criminal statutes, as Canada did in 1988.
The second point calls for abortion to be available in all State hospitals: although out-patient abortions have been available in the gynaecological departments of State hospitals in Vienna since 2003, only the Semmelweis Clinic reports the relevant figures. The petition calls for women across the country to have access to abortion near to where they live by ensuring there is high-quality provision in all public hospitals.
The third demand relates to coverage of the cost of abortion by the Health Insurance Funds. Contraception and abortion costs are too high in Austria and have to be paid for privately. In almost all other West-European countries the cost of an abortion is largely covered by the Health Insurance Funds, as is contraception.
Lastly, the supporters of the petition want concerted efforts to be made against the psychological intimidation of healthcare establishments: according to a 2008 decision by the Council of Europe all Member States are required to ensure that women have unimpeded access to a safe abortion. That includes, for example, enacting legislation making it illegal to dissuade a woman from having an abortion or a necessary preliminary examination (regulation on the French model), or legally defined protection zones in front of establishments that provide abortions.
The petition can be signed online: http://wien.gruene.at/fristenloesung/home/