The Situation Regarding Abortions in the Republic of Moldova

Abortion in the Republic of Moldova (as part of the USSR) was legalized in 1955. From the 1960s to the 1990s abortion had the status of an essential method of birth con­trol. The share of interrupted pregnancies among women aged 15-19 years (based on official statistics) has been more or less constant over the last 10 years, representing 10 percent of the total number of abortions among women of reproductive age (data from the Ministry of Health and the National Health Management Center). This phe­nomenon was tolerated because of a lack of access to modern methods of contracep­tion and a low level of family planning knowledge among the population. Official statistics do not offer any data regarding the number of cases of complications resulting from unsafe abortions and the number of hospitalizations caused by unsafe abortions (per 1,000 women) and, in fact even today categories of safe and unsafe abortions are not employed. Even the existing legislative and normative acts do not include the categories of safe and unsafe abortion (with the exception of the National Strategy for Reproductive Health).

The phenomenon of unregistered abortions persists in the country. it is thought that the reason for not registering abortions is that these represent a source of income for the providers of pregnancy interruption services (Strategic Evaluation of Aspects of Policy, Quality and Access to Contraception and Abortion Services in the Republic of Moldova, Chisinau, 2006). Another reason is the low level of confidentiality of medical services in Moldova that is extended also to the abortion procedure. in order to avoid potential disclosure women are tended to offer informal payments in order not to have the procedure registered even if it is being done in the hospital according to all the respective medical protocols. Even though the legislation on abortions in the Republic of Moldova is one of the most liberal in the world, for reason of social, economic and educational nature the phenomenon of illegal abortions persists. The proportion of illegal abortions represents 0.1 percent of the total number (data from the Ministry of Health, the National Health Management Center). it is also worth mentioning that no studies have been conducted regarding reproductive health service providers' degree of knowledge and correct understanding of the legal status of abortion. 

Teenage women under 18 years cannot receive abortion services confidentially. Cur­rently, the consent of parents or of a close relative is still a mandatory part of the pro­cess. This situation sometimes forces them to make unofficial payments, at times fairly substantial ones. On other occasions these women seek illegal abortions. Pregnancy in the case of teenage women represents a serious public health problem and it often occurs because of teenagers' lack of information about the methods of contraception and the availability of contraception free of charge or for a reduced price. Pregnancy in the case of teenage women in most cases is ended by abortion which is often not carried out in safe conditions, thus putting at risk their health and sometimes even their lives. As far as the age at which teenage woman may decide independently on terminating the pregnancy (without parental consent), there are no unanimous opin­ions. The current legislation establishes this age at 18 years.
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