We strongly believe that, in order to fully enjoy her reproductive freedom, a woman must be able to freely decide about her own body, health and life. Reproductive freedom does not exist if it is a hurdle race. This is exactly why we stood up in her defence in 2009 and together with a number of civil society organisations we founded the Right to Choice Platform in response to the Government’s campaign against the right to abortion. Together with 40 civil society organisations we adopted and signed a Declaration on the protection of women’s right to freely decide about her life, health and physical integrity.
In 2013 the then Government adopted the new Law on Termination of Pregnancy that restricted the access to safe and legal abortion and pushed the women in Northern Macedonia into unnecessary administrative procedures. We рrotested on the streets, carried out well-argued analyses, we contested the constitutionality of this law, we organised public hearing in the Assembly and we asked for support from MPs, international organisations and the UN’s Human Rights Committee.
In 2013 HERA became a Member of the International Safe Abortion Campaign, and every year on the 28th of September we mark the Global Day of Action for Access to Safe and Legal Abortion. HERA is also one of the 22 members of the Gender Equality Platform that was founded to protect women’s rights and to promote the gender equality in North Macedonia, including reproductive health and rights.
After years of advocacy fight in May 2019 the Parliament of the Republic of North Macedonia has adopted the new pregnancy termination bill that advances women’s rights and protects women’s health and life. Justice was finally served. The new legislation removes all administrative barriers to access abortion services, including the mandatory and biased counseling and 3-days waiting period. Abortion can now be performed from the 12th till the 22nd week of pregnancy due to social-economic reasons, fetus malformation, rape, incest and/or medical indications without approval from the hospital commission. The new legislation also introduces medical abortion pills as an option for women and abortion could be performed in the primary health care Ob&Gyn cabinets up to the 9th week of pregnancy using medical abortion.
In June 2019, HERA launched the campaign “Freedom is when you decide for yourself” in order to raise awareness of the benefits for women of the new Law on Abortion.
In December 2020, the Ministry of Health adopted the Clinical Guidelines for Medical Abortion, in accordance with WHO principles, which will ensure a better quality of abortion-related services. This guidance for the gynaecologists also regulates the method of performing medical abortions, which has not been legally regulated in our country before.
Read more about:
- COVID-19 and the right to medical abortion
- HERA policy on the organisation’s basic principles, values and activities relating to the protection of the right to choose an abortion
- Declaration of 10 political parties on amending the Law on Termination of Abortion and ensuring the protection of health and reproductive rights during the 2016 parliamentary elections
- HERA’s field research on the effects and consequences from the 2013 adoption of the restrictive Law on Termination of Pregnancy
- HERA brochure with basic information that healthcare workers and women should know about medical abortion
- Upon completion of the four-year long campaign – HERA quantitative research into the general population’s and gynaecologists’ positions on the 2013 legal amendments and on the Government’s TV campaigns against the abortion right “Choose life, you have right to a choice”