Slovak government breaks down over Vatican anti-abortion pact News
Slovak government breaks down over Vatican anti-abortion pact

[JURIST] Slovak Prime Minister Mikulas Dzurinda [official website, English version] has decided to abandon an agreement [draft text in Slovak, DOC] with the Vatican [official website], prompting a major breakdown in the Slovak government with the Christian Democrat Movement (KDH) [official website, in Slovak] announcing it would leave the government coalition. The controversial document, which has also been criticized [JURIST report] by the European Union [official website], contained an "objection of conscience" clause that would give employees the legal right to refuse tasks that violated their religious beliefs. Dzurinda's Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKU) [official website, English version] party originally agreed with KDH on the treaty, but recently changed its stance. Dzurinda said that the agreement would give increased power to the Catholic Church, allowing interference in civil matters such as a woman's right to an abortion if her doctor found it conflicted with his beliefs. EUObserver has more; from Slovakia, the Slovak Spectator has local coverage.

Meanwhile, Slovak President Ivan Gasparovic [official website] on Tuesday accepted the resignations of three Christian Democrat ministers. The conflict between the two parties is expected to impact the Slovak parliamentary election scheduled for September 2006, and the remaining members of the cabinet intend to meet Wednesday to discuss the possibility of an expedited election. CTK has more.