European Court of Human Rights (Second Section),
8 September 2009 as a Chamber composed of:
Ireneu Cabral Barreto,
Nona Tsotsoria, judges,
and Françoise Elens-Passos, Deputy Section Registrar,
Having regard to the above application lodged on 16 April 2008,
Having regard to the observations submitted by the respondent Government,
Having deliberated, decides as follows:
The applicant, Ms J.P., is a Hungarian national who was born in 1978 and lives in Budapest. The respondent Government are represented by Mr L. Höltzl, Agent, Ministry of Justice and Law Enforcement.
On 4 October 2007 the applicant, who was then pregnant, was sentenced to 30 days’ confinement after her conviction in regulatory offence proceedings for having committed prostitution. The applicant wished to terminate her pregnancy. She considered that her hopeless financial situation and the fact that, as a prostitute, she could not know the identity of the father represented a situation amounting to a serious crisis within the meaning of section 5(2) of Act no. 79 of 1992 on the Protection of Foetal Life, which entitled her to an abortion.
After the commencement of her prison term at Pálhalma Prison on 5 October, the applicant was subjected to a medical examination on 8 October 2007 and found ten weeks pregnant. She was informed that, in principle, in order to undergo abortion in a civilian institution, she needed to request the interruption of the execution of her sentence, which she did on 9 October. Her request was faxed to the Gödöllő District Court on 10 October.
On 12 October 2007 the Gödöllő District Court dismissed the applicant’s request to have the sentence interrupted. This decision reached Pálhalma Prison on 16 October.
The applicant states that at this stage her attention was not drawn to the fact that she could have obtained an abortion within the system of penitentiary health care, as provided in section 23(2) of Decree No. 5/1998 (III.6.) IM.
On receipt of the court’s decision, the applicant was again examined by a doctor and her pregnancy was found just twelve weeks old. Upon her request, the prison administration eventually secured an urgent appointment with the nearest civilian hospital in order to carry out the abortion. The director of the hospital authorised the intervention.
On 17 October 2007 the prison authorities escorted the applicant to the local Service for the Protection of Families for a statutory interview. At the interview, the applicant declared that she had changed her mind and that she intended to keep her pregnancy. She signed minutes to that effect, which was submitted to the Court by the Government.
On 1 November 2007 the applicant served her sentence and was released.
The applicant complained under Article 8 that the authorities hindered her access to an abortion in a civilian hospital. Since she could not freely decide this question according to her own convictions, her rights under Article 9 had equally been violated. Moreover, in her view, the proceedings before the District Court were unfair in that they were unsuitable to remedy her situation. Lastly, relying on Protocol No. 12, she complained of discrimination against her as a prostitute.
The examination of the present case may be discontinued for the following reason.
On 9 July 2009 the applicant informed the Court of her intention to withdraw the application.
The Court concludes that the applicant does not intend to pursue her application, within the meaning of Article 37 § 1 (a) of the Convention. Furthermore, in accordance with Article 37 § 1 in fine, the Court finds no special circumstances regarding respect for human rights as defined in the Convention and its Protocols which require the continued examination of the case.
For these reasons, the Court unanimously
Decides to strike the application out of its list of cases.
Françoise Elens-Passos Françoise
Deputy Registrar President