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EU legal panel condemns Vatican-Slovakia anti-abortion pact

[JURIST] The EU Network of Independent Experts on Fundamental Rights [official website], a legal panel appointed by the European Commission, has warned [BBC report] that a agreement [draft text in Slovak, DOC], drawn up in 2003, between the Vatican and Slovakia that allows Catholic hospitals in Slovakia to refuse to perform controversial treatments such as abortions may be in violation of its obligations as a European Union [official website] member nation. Lawyers for the EU Network said that the agreement, known as a concordat [background materials], creates "a risk that the recognition of a right to exercise objection of conscience in the field of reproductive healthcare will make it in practice impossible or very difficult for women to receive advice or treatment ... especially in rural areas." The Vatican [official website] has signed anti-abortion concordats of a more limited nature with Italy, Latvia and Portugal. The Guardian has more.

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