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Cyprus

Discussion on abortion statistics cancelled amid uproar

Ad hoc, demographics committee, Elam
File photo

A discussion in the house ad hoc demographics committee on statistics regarding abortions in Cyprus has been cancelled according to the parliament website on Friday, following an uproar from two MPs who claimed the issue of abortions victimised women, and blamed them for the birth rate reduction.

The subject had been registered at the demographics committee, which is headed by far-right Elam, and a slew of state services had been invited to answer questions about statistics regarding abortions, since it was decriminalised.

According to the parliament programme, the subject was registered by Elam MP Linos Papayiannis, Diko MPs Zacharias Koulias and Pavlos Mylonas, and Depa MP Alecos Tryfonides.

They had invited reps from the labour ministry, the health ministry, the deputy social welfare ministry, the statistical service, the state health services (Okypy), the health insurance organisation (HIO), and the institute of demographics and migration in Cyprus.

Leading the rallying cry, Akel MP Irene Charalambides: “Not every proposal for discussion is respected in the parliament when it takes us back to the Middle Ages and targets women for the birth rate reduction.”

She added that it was shocking the parliamentary services allowed for this subject to be registered as a topic of discussion.

Also, Charalambides questioned, why the MPs that registered the issue – that relates abortions to the demographic issue – did not concern themselves with the fact that the birth rate reduction is due to the financial problems young couples face.

Speaking to Astra Radio, she criticised the MPs that registered the issue claiming they were attempting to target women, adding that abortion in Cyprus was decriminalised in 2018, after objections and discussion in parliament.

She questioned: “Why shouldn’t women be allowed to get abortions if their pregnancy is a danger to their health or have been raped, should they be forced to give birth to their rapist children?”

The proposal by MPs “who love another era” chose women as a target instead of seeing the real problems that prevent the increase in births, she pointed out, stressing that she will seek the condemnation by the plenary of the parliament for the registration of this subject that involves such attitudes against women.

In addition, when asked to comment on the same issue and the fact that members of the Diko co-signed this discussion topic, the deputy president of the party, Christiana Erotokritou, separated her position.

She said that she herself disagrees, however she respects the right of every member of parliament to register for discussion topics that interest them.

MP Alexandra Attalides also decried the issue being registered as a topic of discussion. On her social media account on X, formerly known as Twitter, she said: “We will stand against the targeting and undermining of women’s hard-won rights. All together against the Far-Right agenda!”

Both Attalides and Charalambides shared the issue on their social media, and have tagged other female MPs, to try and gather support to have the topic stricken.

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