EKRE abortion funding cut proposal rejected in coalition discussions

EKRE vice chair Martin Helme.
EKRE vice chair Martin Helme. Source: Kairit Leibold/ERR

The Estonian Conservative People's Party (EKRE) has failed to get agreement on one of its proposals in the ongoing coalition government discussions, whereby the use of public funding in non-medically induced abortions would be cut.

Such funding would include that from the health insurance fund (Haigekassa).

Martin Helme, EKRE deputy chair, said that in spite of the rejection of this particular proposal by the other two parties in the coalition discussions, Centre and Isamaa, his party would continue to press home a proposal to provide more public funding to counseling, aimed at reducing the national abortion rate.

"For us this is an important topic of values, to provide more money to counseling so we have fewer abortions and more live births. This is part of Estonia's demographic problem," Mr Helme said on Friday.

Of the other two parties in the current discussions, Centre, with the highest number of seats at 26, takes a fairly liberal stance on most social issues; Isamaa (10 seats) is more conservative, but nonetheless opposed the EKRE proposal. Isamaa's forerunner, IRL oppsed a 2015 bill removing the requirement for ''teenage'' women to notify their parents or social workers about any planned abortion.

Centre Party chair Jüri Ratas said no plans to ban abortions were on the table.

According to UN statistics, in 2010 there were 25.5 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-44 years of age.

Editor: Andrew Whyte

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