Legal Aspects of Regulation of Abortion in the Context of Jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights

Regulatory approach to the right to abortion in Europe is diverse and basically related to the issue of when the right to life begins and how this question is reflected in national legislation. Such an approach and diversity is tolerated by the European Court of Human Rights, but only if some specific standards and criteria formulated in the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights are reflected in national legislation. Research of the Lithuanian legal acts conducted in the light of the jurisprudence of the Court shows that they are not in accordance with the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights and the solutions are therefore suggested. The aim of the article is to systematically analyse the Lithuanian legal acts regulating issues of abortion and to identify the existing problems and provide suggestions as to how to solve those problems with the help of the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights in abortion cases. Analysis of the Lithuanian legal acts reveals that the existing legal regulation and practice is confusing and ambiguous. Abortion questions are regulated in Lithuania by means of secondary legislation, namely by order of the Health Minister which is more than 15 years old, and the classification of diseases dangerous to woman’s health and life is based on international classification that is invalid. The order is not in reconciled with the Lithuanian criminal law. Some other ambiguities and problems are identified in the article. Abortion on a woman’s request in Lithuania is possible by the end of the 12 week of pregnancy and during the entire pregnancy, if it causes danger to woman’s health and life. The Lithuanian legislator requires that both conditions – danger to woman’s health and life – are met in order to terminate pregnancy what is unnecessary and sometimes even confusing. The author suggests providing two separate bases for abortion – danger to woman’s life or health. Foetus problems – if a foetus is irreversibly damaged or suffering from an incurable life-threatening disease, it is not a separate basis for abortion in Lithuania, however those abnormalities of the foetus are related to the health and life of a pregnant woman. In the opinion of the author, looking into the practice of the other EU countries, it is better to provide a separate ground for abortion because of abnormalities of the foetus. The basic problem in Lithuania that is similar in Poland and in Ireland is that there is no clear procedure in case a pregnant woman is not satisfied with the decision of the medical commission regarding the question of her abortion or if the opinion of members of the commission is diverse – no time guidance or appeal institution is provided
Keywords nėščioji  abortion  vaisius  teisė į privatumą  foetus  European Court of Human Rights  right to privacy  abortas  Europos Žmogaus Teisių Teismas  pregnant woman
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