Cosmetic surgery amendment likely

The People’s Party (ÖVP) has harshly criticised Health Minister Alois Stöger’s “style” of presenting new ideas – but also explained it would support his cosmetic surgery draft bill.

Stöger told magazine News and newspaper Kurier yesterday (Thurs) that he wanted to implement stricter rules on plastic surgeries. Teenagers should be ordered to consult psychologists before they go under the knife. Their wish for cosmetic corrections should not be fulfilled without parents’ permission. The Social Democrat (SPÖ) added he wanted to create a database of cosmetic operations on offer in Austria to clarify the current circumstances in the country where doctors carried out around 40,000 of such surgeries in 2010.

ÖVP Health Affairs spokesman Erwin Rasinger said today his party would not block Stöger’s attempt to set up more stringent rules considering plastic surgery. Speaking to the Kurier, Rasinger criticised the minister for informing the media about his projects before letting his party’s coalition partner know. “This is bad style,” Rasinger claimed.

Two of the three opposition parties currently represented in the federal parliament approved Stöger’s list of measures which also includes a paragraph which would ban under-14s from undergoing cosmetic surgeries. The Freedom Party (FPÖ) did not comment on the issue but the Greens said they welcomed the health minister’s suggestions. The Alliance for the Future of Austria (BZÖ), which is headed by ex-FPÖ member of parliament (MP) Josef Bucher, announced it was also in support of the “long overdue” draft bill.

The proposal may lead to a change in law even if the ÖVP pulls out from backing it if both the Green Party and the BZÖ support it in a vote in parliament. Stöger’s suggestions considering Austria’s plastic surgery business came days after he said lesbian couples and single women should be allowed to undergo in vitro fertilization (IVF). Forty per cent of Austrians disapprove of the idea, according to Karmasin. The public opinion agency found that 46 per cent were in favour.