Kujundžić's commission - new Act in the hands of conservative physicians



Zagreb, 011018.
Potpisivanje Ugovora o javnoj nabavi robotskog kirurskog sustava u Ministarstvu zdravstva. Ugovor je potpisao ministar zdravstva Milan Kujundzic. To je prvi robotski kirurski sustav u Hrvatskoj koji ce biti smjesten u Klinici za urologiju Klinickog bolnickog centra Zagreb. Na fotografiji: Milan Kujundzic.
Foto: Ranko Suvar / CROPIX
Ranko Šuvar / CROPIX

Milan Kujundžić

The Health Ministry officially confirmed for JUTARNJI LIST the list of ten members comprising the commission for evaluation of legal criteria and experiences of the EU with regard to right to termination of pregnancy.

The commission was formed on 10 November and it comprises gynecologist and head of the Zagreb Clinical Hospital Ante Ćorušić as head of the commission and nine more members - gynecologists Berivoj Mišković and Tanja Turudić from the Holy Spirit Clinical Hospital, gynecologist Marko Vulić from the Split Clinical Hospital, neurologist Zdravka Poljaković, psychiatrist Darko Marčinko and gynecologist Dinka Paviči-Baldani from the Zagreb Clinical Hospital, professor Anica Čulo Margaletić from Faculty of Law at the University of Zagreb, gynecologist Mirna Erman-Vlahović from the Osijek Clinical Hospital and professor Urelija Rodin from the Croatian Public Health Institute (HZJZ).

Conservative views

-Job of the experts is to ascertain experiences of EU member states with regard to right to termination of pregnancy and provide an analysis that will present expert basis for drafting regulations - noted the Health Ministry.

Still, who are the members and what are their views on abortion? Head of the commission Ćorušić is known for his conservative views and opposing abortion. He noted in public appearances and statements for the media that "nobody is talking about a third person's right to live. The Hippocratic Oath calls for respecting human life from the start and, since conception is the start, abortion presents legalized murder." Even though he has moral objections to abortion and pointed out on several occasions that life starts at conception, he is not in favor of a blanket ban.

As former head of Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ)'s Sabor Health Committee, he spoke about the need to prepare women who want to abort through mandatory counseling with a physician, psychologist, social worker and, if possible, spiritual leader; he said that women, both unbelievers and agnostics, will not have to talk to a spiritual leader, but will have to get counseling from other experts, especially psychologists.

Member of the Media Committee Mišković stressed that fewer and fewer physicians are willing to perform abortions and added that some 40% of them at the Holy Spirit point to conflict of conscience. He pointed out that two rights are in conflict when it comes to abortion - right of women to have an abortion and right of gynecologists to reject to perform the procedure. He supported the "40 days for life" initiative.

Member of the commission Čulo Margaletić comes from the family law department of the Faculty of Law at the University of Zagreb. She is known as member of the working group tasked with drawing up the Family Act, which was headed by head of the department Dubravka Hrabar, who proposed regulations according to which parents who lost their children are not a family. This, as well as other controversial proposals, caused withdrawal of proposed regulations in less than 24 hours. She is a regular guest on U ime obitelji [In the Name of the Family] Catholic NGO's website.

We know little about the position of the gynecologist from Split, Marko Vulić. He is mentioned as a good gynecologist and obstetrician, especially when it comes to c-section. The media connected him with singer Severina Vučković as he was part of the team that delivered her baby. As far as we know, he does not perform abortions.

Judge Ivan Turudić's wife is on the commission as well, Tanja Turudić.


-We are skeptical with regard to the list of people on the commission. Some of them are known for publicly speaking about abortion and conflict of conscience, so we suspect their work will not be unbiased, objective and based on science as this is an ideological issue, which should not happen when it comes to adoption of regulations - noted Iva Davorija from the PaRiter human rights and civic participation. Davorija noted that their task is to ascertain experiences of EU member states with regard to regulation, stressing that they cannot take steps, but are concerned about the worldview of the people involved.

Fear of oversight

-This is not a team that fills us with confidence that they will do their jobs as they are supposed to. We are afraid that oversights will be made in some stages. We do not know whether the commission will operate in a transparent manner or whether it will reveal its methodology and data in the next three months, or which conclusions it will reach - said Davorija. She concluded that the NGO is concerned with conflict of conscience as the commission is full of people who invoke it.

-We are worried that they will follow the rulings of the Constitutional Court and keep abortion legal, but make it unavailable due to appeals to conflict of conscience. There are no statistics and hospitals do not keep records meticulously, which gives additional cause for concern - concluded Davorija. According to unnamed sources, the commission still has not convened. At least not in full, meaning that, formally, it has not started working.

-We are tasked with studying experiences of EU member states and reach a decision. We still have nothing to say to the public, but I believe that our position will be revealed on time - said one of the members of the commission and added that the commission is not the body that will decide on anything.

Inačica na drugom jeziku / Alternate language version