The government of Slovakia has fallen after criticism by a European Union committee that it protects Catholic doctors against being forced to perform abortions. Two clashes of civilization are currently taking place in Europe. Freedom-loving people having to fight on two fronts. One involves the radical segment of the immigrant Muslim population that opposes basic Western values such as freedom of speech and that is intent on imposing Islamic taboos (such as the mere fact of depicting their prophet Muhammad) on the non-Islamic population. The other involves radical secularists that want to eradicate all remnants of traditional Christian culture from post-Christian Europe by restricting the right to conscientious objection on the part of religious people.
As we pointed out earlier, (in our report on the demand of the European Parliament that Poland and the Baltic states be sanctioned for alleged “homophobia”) Christians and secularists team up against islamofascists on some issues, while on others issues leftist secularist totalitarians fight Christians and Muslims alike in their attempt to destroy religion.
The European Union is the vehicle of the leftist totalitarians. On Monday it succeeded in bringing down the Slovak government. As our regular readers will remember, a European Union advisory panel of legal experts issued a statement last December saying that medical professionals are not allowed to refuse to participate in abortions. According to the EU “Network of Independent Experts on Fundamental Rights” doctors should sometimes be forced to perform abortions, even if they have conscientious objections, because the right to abort a child is an “international human right,” while the right to conscientious objection is not “unlimited.”
The statement of the EU legal experts [pdf] was drawn up in criticism of a proposed treaty between the Vatican and Slovakia, which included a guarantee that Catholic hospitals in Slovakia would not be legally obliged to “perform artificial abortions, artificial or assisted fertilizations, experiments with or handling of human organs, human embryos or human sex cells, euthanasia, cloning, sterilizations, [and] acts connected with contraception.”
Leftist groups had complained that some new EU members – namely Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia – are so overwhelmingly Catholic that far too few doctors are willing to perform abortions. This makes it hard for women who want an abortion to find a doctor who has no conscientious objection. In such cases, the EU legal experts say, doctors should be forced to abort because the legal right of an individual to an abortion overrules the right of others to refuse to participate in it whenever the refusal would entail that the abortion cannot take place. In addition, the experts’ opinion holds that this applies not only to abortion. It adds that assisted suicide, same-sex marriage and access to contraception are also among the basic human rights guaranteed to citizens of the EU. On euthanasia the legal experts wrote:
“For instance, although neither euthanasia nor assisted suicide are protected as such under the European Convention on Human Rights or any other international human rights instrument, in a State where euthanasia or assisted suicide are partially decriminalized, the right to religious conscientious objection, while it should be recognized to the medical doctors asked to perform euthanasia or to assist a person in committing suicide, should not be exercised in a way which leads to depriving any person from the possibility of exercising effectively his or her rights as guaranteed under the applicable legislation.”
The statement of the EU legal experts was written in such forcible terms that it embarassed Slovak politicians, eager to be taken seriously by their EU partners after several previous snubs. Earlier the Slovak government had angered the EU by refusing to introduce so-called “positive discrimination legislation,” while it was also the only government in Europe to speak out in defence of a Swedish pastor who had been taken to court on charges of “homophobia.”
The criticism of the EU experts killed off the draft treaty with the Vatican. The Slovak government, a minority government consisting of several Christian Democrat parties, became divided on the issue. The government of Prime Minister Mikulás Dzurinda held only 58 of the 150 seats in Parliament but was backed by free-market parties.
However, though Mr Dzurinda’s Christian Democrat Party originally supported the treaty – on the table since 2003 – after the EU’s criticism the Prime Minister said last Monday that the treaty would allow the Catholic Church to gain too great an influence. Thirteen of the 16 cabinet members spoke out against it, while the three ministers of the Christian Democrat Movement (KDH) defended it. Last Monday KDH leader Pavol Hrusovsky announced that his party’s 15 MPs were going to join the opposition.
Because the KDH said that it would vote against the cabinet from now on, there was a real possibility that 76 parliamentarians would vote against the cabinet, whereupon Mr Dzurinda announced that he would call new elections. Another possibility, according to some political analysts, is that Mr Dzurinda seeks support from the Socialist opposition. His controversial predecessor, Mr Vladimir Meciar, has already signalled he might help.
Meanwhile in Italy today a court decided, after a protracted legal battle, that Father Enrico Righi, a Catholic priest, will not be forced to prove Christ’s historical existence in court. Luido Cascioli, the author of an atheist book entitled The Fable of Christ, had taken the priest to court in September 2002 after the latter had criticized his book in a local Catholic paper.