In 2013 and 2014, Macedonian lawmakers introduced a series of new legal requirements, including a three-day mandatory waiting period, mandatory biased counseling and a mandatory ultrasound, which must be complied with before women can access abortion on request during the first 10 weeks of pregnancy. In addition, new legislative provisions increased the fines imposed on medical professionals and service providers who violate the law and introduced criminal sanctions for medical professionals. The introduction of these requirements created new barriers in access to legal abortion care.
In this fact sheet, the Center for Reproductive Rights and H.E.R.A. (Health Education and Research Association) present the findings of in-depth interviews with stakeholders in Macedonia, exploring their views on, and experiences of, these new legal requirements. These interviews, conducted in 2017, point to concerns among stakeholders that the new requirements have delayed women’s access to legal abortion care, undermined women’s decision-making, encouraged the dissemination of inaccurate and misleading information about abortion, and led to a chilling effect on medical practitioners and service providers.