Pregnancy may motivate women to escape abuser, say EKRE caucuses

Helle-Moonika Helme, deputy chairwoman of EKRE's Women's Association, together with husband and EKRE chairman Mart Helme.
Helle-Moonika Helme, deputy chairwoman of EKRE's Women's Association, together with husband and EKRE chairman Mart Helme. Source: Anna Aurelia Minev/ERR

In a public letter to gynaecologists on Friday, the Association of Christians and the Women's Association of the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) stressed that the right to life is the most fundamental of human rights, adding that for women in abusive relationships, a child may be the motivation they need to finally leave.

The Association of Christians and the Women's Association expressed their appreciation of gynaecologists who have been contributing the reduction in the number of abortions over the years, adding that doctors' day-to-day efforts in saving premature babies and babies born by caesarean section (C-section) deserve respect and gratitude.

"While on one hand it is true that the number of abortions per resident in Estonia is indeed among the lowest in the world, on the other, the number of abortions per live births is among the highest," the associations wrote. "In 2017, there were about 42 abortions per 100 live births. Only Russia, Belarus, Romania, Bulgaria and Georgia outrank us in this. Thus it must be admitted that although the number of abortions has been constantly declining in Estonia, it is nevertheless still too big. 4,500-5,000 unborn boys and girls every year mean 4,500-5,000 lives never lived, smiles never smiled, dreams never dreamt."

Given Estonia's declining population numbers, with deaths outnumbering births by some 1,500 each year, it is clear to non-religious people as well that Estonia must do its utmost as a state for each child to be given the possibility of being born, they continued.

"EKRE finds that women in a pregnancy crisis in particular need to be supported and encouraged as well as assisted with practical things, such as benefits, a home," the associations said. "For many women living in a violent relationship, it is a child that may be the external stimulus and source of strength she needs to decide to leave the violent relationship. When they haven't been able to do it for their own sake for years, maybe they will for the sake of the child."

The right to life is the most fundamental of human rights, the associations said, and all other rights depend fully on whether the right to life has been ensured.

"It's sad that there is one voiceless group of people in Estonia whose right to life depends entirely on the decisions of other people regarding them," EKRE's Christians' and women's associations said. "A fetus is a guest in the mother's body; it is not a part of it. They have their own DNA, their own heart that beats and waits to meet their mother — the dearest person for the child." 

According to the associations, not performing abortions set doctors of the Hippocratic school apart from doctors of other schools in the ancient world as well, and thus it is not incorrect to state that performing abortions runs counter to the Hippocratic Oath.

EKRE politicians' comments roundly criticised

Comments made by various members of EKRE over the past week, including party chairman Mart Helme and deputy chairman Martin Helme, equating abortions to the killing of children and asserting that gynaecologists that perform abortions are breaking their Hippocratic Oaths have sparked broad criticism in recent days, including from doctors' associations, President Kersti Kaljulaid and Prime Minister and Centre Party chairman Jüri Ratas.

Mr Ratas on Friday issued a public apology and called on EKRE politicians to stop blaming gynaecologists and women in connection with reproductive decisions.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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