Military police shut down Kosovo abortion clinics

PRISTINA, Aug 6, 2000 -- (Reuters) Italian military police in Kosovo have closed down five private clinics with "deplorable hygiene " where doctors were performing abortions 24 weeks into pregnancies, an officer told AFP Saturday.

The clinics were run by five doctors who also work at Pristina's public hospital, where some of them had "important responsibilities," said a member of the Carabinieri unit attached to the KFOR multinational peacekeeping force.

"These doctors were working in conditions of deplorable hygiene. They were carrying out abortions up to the sixth month," he said.

"No one died, but two women had very serious complications and had to be hospitalized," he said.

Between them the doctors were carrying out around 10 abortions per week. Their clinics were shut down two weeks ago and the results of the investigation handed over to a prosecutor last week, the officer said.

Susan Manuel, a spokeswoman for the UN administration, which has run the Yugoslav province since July last year, said: "There are no UN regulations covering health care or abortions in Kosovo."

Under Yugoslav law, which is still in force in Kosovo, abortions are legal until the fourth month of pregnancy.

During the decade after federal Yugoslavia stripped Kosovo of its autonomous status in 1989, many ethnic Albanian doctors worked in a parallel health care system while Serb doctors monopolized posts in state-run hospitals.

Since the 1998-1999 civil war between ethnic Albanian separatists and Yugoslav forces ended in June last year, Albanian doctors have gone back to work in the hospitals but many also have private practices.

Original article