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Estonia Chancellor of Justice Declares Taxpayer Funding of Abortions Legally OK

Steven Ertelt,

Tallinn, Estonia ( — In response to a request from a pro-life group, the Chancellor of Justice of the Republic of Estonia, a country that was a former part of Soviet Union, has said the nation can force taxpayers to fund abortions. The decision is concerning because it could have stopped public-funded abortions.

In September 2008, the Institute for the Culture of Life, a pro-life group based in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, filed an application to the Chancellor of Justice of the Republic of Estonia.

The group asked Indrek Teder to declare public financing of abortion unconstitutional.

The application rested upon the 2002 decision of the previous Chancellor of Justice, Allar Jõks, who argued that “the right to life enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of Estonia protects also the foetus” and thus section 16 of the Constitution has to be interpreted as laying down “the objective responsibility of the State to protect unborn life."

Joks concluded: “Since the right to life of the fetus is protected by the Constitution, termination of pregnancy is in principle forbidden — termination of pregnancy is in conflict with the constitutional right to life and the right to protection against bodily harm.”

Nevertheless, in January the new Chancellor of Justice, Teder, made public his reply and argued that there is nothing unconstitutional about public financing of abortion and thus terminated the proceedings.

The representatives of the Institute for the Culture of Life told on Tuesday that they are disappointed by the decision.

Varro Vooglaid, a lawyer and one of the authors of the application, complains that Teder ignored all of the central arguments of the applicants.

"Our central argument was that, as the constitution lays upon the State the obligation to protect the life of unborn human beings, governmental financing of elective abortions cannot possibly be constitutional," Vooglaid explained. "If the State has the responsibility to protect the unborn then it cannot finance their intentional killing."

Vooglaid said the two decisions taken together lead to the contradictory conclusion that abortion is not permissible in Estonia but can be financed with taxpayer dollars.

"What is the meaning and value of the constitution and fundamental rights, if law enforcement agencies can randomly decide that, regardless of the State’s constitutional obligation to protect everyone’s right to life, there is nothing unconstitutional about the government’s decision to start financing the intentional killing of thousands of innocent human beings every year?" he asked.

The government of Estonia has for years been paying 70% of the cost of each and every elective abortion spending thus well more than a million US dollars every year.

In 2007, 8 883 elective abortions were performed in Estonia — a tiny Eastern-European state with a population of 1.3 million people.

Since 1956 when the Soviet Union first legalized killing unborn children in Estonia, more than 1.5 million children have lost their life through abortion in the small country.

Vooglaid tells the birth rate is far below the replacement level.