If Lithuania banned abortion, it would still have to cover it abroad – health minister

Juras Požėla
DELFI / Tomas Vinickas

“It is an interesting paradox – under European directives, if a medical service cannot be provided in a member-state, it has to be covered in another country. If we ban abortions in Lithuania, people will be able to go to have abortion in Latvia and we will have to pay for them from the Mandatory Health Insurance fund,” the minister said in an interview last week.

The Lithuanian parliament is currently discussing a bill proposed by the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania, which would ban abortions, except in cases where pregnancy results from rape or presents hazard to the woman’s health.

Minister Požela says he opposes the bill.

“My opinion is that we should not join the very few countries that ban abortions. As a minister, I am convinced that our primary task is to provide help to women who want to terminate pregnancy and try to persuade them out of it. By the way, statistics show a steep decline in the number of abortions. This means that women understand that a child is not a problem,” said the minister, noting the sharp increase in the number of illegal abortions in countries that ban abortions.

In Lithuania, pregnancy may be terminated until the 12th week without any additional conditions.

Abortions are allowed in the majority of European Union (EU) member-states. Discussions on abortion ban are currently in progress in Poland, which had strict conditions for pregnancy termination until now, as well.

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