Slovenians Scoff As France Makes History On Abortion Rights

Reports that France passed a world-first constitutional protection of abortion rights the other day did not go down well in Slovenia. Not because Muddy Hollows would be some Mitteleuropäischer version of Alabama. Rather, because a certain sub-Alpine nation is fiercely proud of its own abortion protection rules dating back decades.

A still from Les Mis film, with words Vive La France, in recognition of French constitutional abortion protection.
No, really, France. Chapeau!

As a result, more than a few Slovenians and people in the wider region are butt-hurt over some baguette-munching assholes claiming to be the first ones to get where the Old Country was back in 1974. But not only are these people butt-hurt, they are also dead wrong.

On Tuesday, both houses of French parliament passed a constitutional amendment that specifically guarantees the right of women to voluntary terminate pregnancy.

And then, within a New York minute, a lot of people from Slovenia quickly pointed out that Muddy Hollows has has the same thing for decades. Specifically, that Slovenia constitutionally protected the right of reproductive choice ever since the constitution was adopted in 1992. Which, you know, fair.

The year 1974 called, it wants its constitution back

Others went even further back in time. They – again, correctly – pointed out that Article 191 of the Yugoslav constitution of 1974 protected the right of reproductive choice. This was then echoed, word for word, in Article 232 of 1974 Constitution of Socialist Republic of Slovenia. None of this is news, really.

Then there was the AP report on how Serbia included a similar provision in its 2006 constitution. Point being that the Old Country might have gone to hell in a handcart, but it did do some good.

And yet, the global media picked up the France-did-it-first narrative and ran with it. So, what gives?

Both readers are surely are aware that pengovsky is a big fan of reproductive choice and, more to the point, of the right to abortion. Apologies if this comes as a shock, but if it does you were not paying attention.

Slovenians getting their knickers in a twist

In general, Slovenians like to feel smug about the decades-long abortion protection in the country. And when someone else claims to have done something progressive in this general area, the good people of Muddy Hollows tend to get their kickers in a twist.

And yet, the reality is that among European countries where abortion is legal and accessible on request, Slovenia has one of the strictest regulations of this medical procedure.

In fact, outside of Portugal, it is only Slovenia and Croatia where abortion is generally approved only up to 10 weeks of pregnancy. I mean, even goddamn Italy with its overt Catholicism allows termination on request up to 12 weeks into pregnancy.

So much for the liberal socialists constitutions of the 1970s.

Obviously, things get more nuanced as time goes by and pregnancy terminations are still possible later on. But at least in Slovenia that includes committees, assessments, cooling-off periods and generally a whole lot of hoops women must jump throught when deciding what to do their own bodies.

Finding new ways to block abortion

More importantly, however, recent history has shown that social regressives, sexists and misogynist retards have become much more cunning, brutal and effective in chipping away at abortion rights.

They recognise that outright banning abortion is, at this stage, simply not on the cards. The pushback would have been too great.

But limiting access to abortion? Promoting conscientious objections by OB/GYN doctors or even straight up defunding those departments? Pushing traditional family values while squeezing out other viewpoints? Now these are ideas social conservatives of all shapes, sizes and persuasions can get behind.

And once they achieve that, they will easily find new legislative and administrative ways to discourage, limit or ban abortion. Sometimes with deadly consequences.

Yes, I’m looking at you, Poland. Croatia. Texas.

Interpreting is not the same as enshrining

The fact that freedom of choice is constitutionally protected in Slovenia is obviously important. But even if, for all intents and purposes, Article 55 of Slovenian constitution is understood and interpreted as guaranteeing the right to an abortion, it is not the same as specifically enshrining the right to pregnancy termination into the basic law of the land.

So, rather than going up in a huff about how Slovenia and former Yugoslavia were the among the first countries in the world to (sort of) protect abortion constitutionally, the progressives in Muddy Hollows would do better if they started to look for ways to strengthen existing abortion protection rules. And maybe add a couple of new ones.

Because they might find that going from constitutional protection of the freedom of choice to constitutional protection of pregnancy termination might not be as easy as they think.

Until then, vive la France!

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Agent provocateur and an occasional scribe.