Abortions are “still a taboo subject”, so it is of interest “to find out more about the motives and reasons behind them in order to be able to better support and accompany women in this conflict situation”: With these words they have two ÖVP ministers Susanne Raab (women and integration) and Christine Aschbacher (work, family and youth) launched the citizens’ initiative “Facts help!” advocates the “Aktion Leben”, which advocates nationwide anonymized statistics on abortions and anonymous research into the motives for this.
Raab and Aschbacher submitted their supportive, almost word-for-word statements published on the website www.parlament.gv.at to the Parliament’s Committee on Petitions in advance of its next meeting, which is scheduled for December 3rd. Both emphasize that the introduction of anonymous abortion statistics and the corresponding research into the motives for the further development of preventive measures as well as needs-based support offers for those affected are “considered sensible”.
However, the introduction of such statistics is not recorded in the turquoise-green government program. The focus there is on promoting advice and support for pregnant women in need. Raab and Aschbacher also refer to the responsibility of the Federal Ministry for Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection, “whose competence would include relevant statistics”.
Perspectives for yes to the child
You yourself are in favor of the abortion statistics and motive research urged by “Aktion Leben” with 55,000 signatures so far, assure the two ministers. This could also be the basis for overall improved framework conditions for parents-to-be, especially pregnant women – such as needs-based advice and support. The anonymity of women must be preserved and the deadline regulation should not be called into question, say Raab and Aschbacher – in agreement with the initiators of the citizens’ initiative.
Politics and society must create framework conditions that prevent abortions and women “also show perspectives to be able to say yes to the child”, the two statements go on to say. Therefore, the support of women who are unplanned to become pregnant is of central importance. A sufficient and easily accessible offer of support and advice is crucial. The 380 family counseling centers, which are funded from family budget funds, are important contact points for those affected. And the government wants to expand this further.
Support from Sobotka
In September “Aktion Leben” launched its citizens’ initiative “Facts help!” re-introduced in parliament after the change of government to turquoise-green. Representatives of the independent association handed almost 3,400 signatures to the President of the National Council, Wolfgang Sobotka (ÖVP), thus creating the formal requirements for a new start for the citizens’ initiative, which had supported almost 55,000 citizens in the last two legislative periods. Six ÖVP parliamentarians were also present at the handover. Sobotka pledged his support and that of the ÖVP group, which was clearly positioned on this issue.