Estonian parlt repeals unconstitutional restriction of minors' right to abortion

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Estonian lawmakers on Thursday revoked restrictions on minors' right to terminate pregnancy deemed to be unconstitutional by the justice chancellor.

The bill of amendments to the Termination of Pregnancy and Sterilization Act initiated by the standing Social Affairs Committee was passed with 45 votes for and 24 against in the 101-member chamber, the parliamentary press service said.

The passed amendment restores the regulation that was in force until 2009 and allows a minor's pregnancy to be terminated without parents' consent at her own request provided she is capable of understanding the arguments for and against the procedure.

In the course of debates a provision was included in the bill according to which a request has to be in written form, chairwoman of the Social Affairs Committee Heljo Pikhof said. In her words, the request is only valid if the minor has received prior counseling and this has been documented in writing. The law also obliges health workers to explain in advance the biological and medical nature of termination of pregnancy and the involved risks, including possible complications, to the woman or her guardian, she said.

The amendments were initiated at the proposal of the chancellor of justice to eliminate the contradiction with the Constitution.