March for life: a feminist response

Zagreb, Croatia: Platform for women’s reproductive rights warns that the so-called “March for life” is a political gathering that has nothing to do with the preservation of life but has an agenda to restrict abortion accessibility and to make it illegal. In other words, to take away a women’s right to decide if she wants to, when and with whom to have children.

Activists that are defending women’s right to abortion have organised a series of actions along the route of the so-called “March for life” in the capital of Croatia, Zagreb, as well on the buildings on the main square in which the “March for life” took place. All actions were organised in order to highlight the real intentions of the gatherings and warned that this is a walk on women and their rights.

With a transparent that said “March for life is wading women” that was being carried in front of the “March for life”, non-violent sit-in action of women in front of the “March that got them arrested, transparent “Church and the state in a war against women” and “March for life is wading women” on two buildings that are facing the main square, the activists have sent out a message that they will not let women’s rights be eliminated.

Although the fake fight for life is being portraited as a right for demographic growth – demographic growth and illegality of abortion have no relation what so ever. The ones that are talking in favour of demographic growth should focus on the fight towards work rights, especially for pregnant women, adopting a labour law that protects pregnant women and strive for safe jobs and salaries, adequate social services, and education.

Furthermore, the activists are emphasising the fact that the criminalization of abortion, that the so-called “March for life” promotes, does not mean that there will be no more abortions. It only means that abortions will be clandestine and will endanger women’s lives and their reproductive health.

Although abortion is legal in Croatia, it is unavailable. Because of high prices, the objection of conscience and stigma many women are not in a position to practice their right. The Platform demands legal, accessible, safe and free abortion. We demand accessible and free contraception and adequate comprehensive sexuality education based on facts. We demand the abatement of the instrument of the objection of conscience. We demand a family, demographic and social politics that will make it possible for a woman to make a decision about child-bearing or the lack of it and family planning.

Source: + Platform for women’s reproductive rights


In 1991, a group of conservatives related to pro-choice activists filed a claim to the Constitutional Court. They were and still are arguing that the Abortion law that dates all the way back to 1978 is unconstitutional because the article 21 of the Constitution states that “Every human being has a right to life.” According to the law mentioned above, abortion is available upon the tenth week of pregnancy, on demand. Now, in 2017, Croatia has a conservative Government, and the conservative anti-choice groups have gained more power than ever. The Constitutional Court made a decision and said that the Parliament has to bring a new law on abortion in force in the timespan of the next two years. They have suggested that there should be counselling before the abortion and have mentioned education. The abortion has not been banned on the Constitutional level, but the question is being raised and has polarised the Croatian public. Conservative groups have been working hard since 2014 and have managed to mobilise an impressive number of people.