Vesna Stepanic


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    Avoiding unwanted pregnancies in Zagreb

    Vesna Stepanic, Vlastimir Kukura
    Clinical Hospital Merkur, Zagreb, Croatia

    An unwanted pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of serious problems for the mother and baby.
    According to the Croatian National Institute of Public Health, in 2014, there were 3,020 legal terminations of unwanted pregnancies in Croatia - less than in previous years. It is unclear whether the reason for the decrease is that the abortion rate is actually decreasing or because of inappropriate data collection.
    Contraception and termination of unwanted pregnancies are closely related. Reproductive health education should emphasise the necessity of contraception use if there is no chance to cope with an unwanted pregnancy, no matter what reasons a woman might have for such a decision.
    Improved education and counselling about responsible sexual behaviour is considered to be the optimal method of decreasing the number of unwanted pregnancy terminations.
    To this end, the first symposium on “Avoiding Unwanted Pregnancies” with assistance and a grant from the European Society of Contraception and Reproductive Health, was held in Zagreb in May 2015.
    The Symposium was dedicated to addressing the global public health problem of unwanted pregnancies by convening experts involved with this issue to engage in lively discussion, develop conclusions and propose guidelines for further action in terms of counselling and education about responsible sexual behaviour.
    In conclusion, the necessity of counselling and education about responsible sexual behaviour was emphasised, as well as the necessity of having further discussion about the institution of conscientious objection and about changes in laws regarding pregnancy termination.
    The organiser warmly hopes that the importance of the Symposium will be recognised by national authorities. However, this issue is also a political problem and no matter how much the professionals want to do there are limits that are established by the government and social constraints.