Over 200 Sexual Reproductive Right’s NGOs Call for Polish Parliament to Protect Women’s Health and Rights

Proposed “Stop Abortion” Bill Continues Roll Back on Reproductive Rights

Poland’s Parliament should listen to the voices of women across Poland and reject a regressive legislative proposal that would erode reproductive rights, over 200 human and women’s rights groups from across the globe said in a statement issued today.

The Parliament is debating a draft bill entitled “Stop Abortion.” If adopted, this legislation will severely limit the already restricted grounds on which women can lawfully access abortion in Poland. It will place women’s health and lives at risk and violate Poland’s international human rights obligations, the groups said.

The statement calls on Polish lawmakers to cease relentless attempts to roll back the reproductive rights of women in Poland and underlines the danger that will be posed to women and girls in Poland if the regressive law is adopted.

Statement follows:

Polish Parliament Must Protect Women’s Health and Rights

22 March 2018

We are deeply concerned by relentless attempts to roll back the reproductive rights of women in Poland.

This week Poland’s parliament is debating a new draft bill entitled “Stop Abortion.” If adopted, this legislation will further limit the already restricted grounds on which women can lawfully access abortion in Poland. It will place women’s health and lives at risk and violate Poland’s international human rights obligations.

We call on Members of Poland’s Parliament to listen to the voices of women across Poland and to reject this regressive legislative proposal and protect women’s health and human rights.

Poland already has one of Europe’s most restrictive abortion laws. Abortion is only lawful to safeguard the life or health of women, in situations of severe fetal anomaly or where the pregnancy results from rape or another criminal act such as incest. Even in those situations in which abortion is legal, multiple barriers combine to limit women’s access in practice. The latest “Stop Abortion” proposal seeks to ban abortion in situations where there is a severe fetal anomaly.

If the “Stop Abortion” bill is passed it will mean that abortion care will no longer be available to women in Poland when they receive a diagnosis of a severe or fatal fetal anomaly. Official statistics from 2016 show that in practice 96% of legal abortions in Poland are performed on these grounds. Most women in Poland who decide to end a pregnancy resulting from rape or because their health is at risk are unable to access legal abortion care in Poland and must travel outside the country to do so. This bill would further hinder women, particularly those from low-income and rural communities, from accessing safe abortion care.

Since 2011, Poland’s government has launched repeated attacks on women’s reproductive rights. In 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2016 draft legislative proposals were introduced that contained total or near total bans on abortion. Following massive public protests, such as the Black Protests in 2016, these draft bills were defeated.

Prohibiting women from accessing safe, legal abortion violates a number of human rights enshrined in international law, including the rights to life, health and health care, nondiscrimination and equality, privacy, and freedom from cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. The European Court of Human Rights has previously ruled that the Polish government, in hindering timely access to abortion, has violated women’s rights under the European Convention on Human Rights. Numerous international human rights bodies, including the UN Human Rights Committee, the Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, the Committee on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women, and the Committee Against Torture, have called on governments to remove barriers to abortion services and ensure access to safe and legal abortion.

Signatories

Abortion Rights Campaign, Ireland
Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada, Canada
Abortion Support Network, United Kingdom
ACAI, Spain
Agrupación de Madrid del Forum de Política Feminista, Spain
Albanian Center for Population and Development, Albania
A.L.E.G. Romania
Alianza por la Solidaridad, Spain
Alliance des Femmes pour la Démocratie, France
Alliance for Choice in Northern Ireland, UK
ALRANZ Abortion Rights Aotearoa, New Zealand
Amnesty International
AnA Society for Feminist Analyses, Romania
ANCIC, France
Asia Pacific Alliance for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (APA)
Asociación con la A, Spain
Asociación Feminista, Spain
Association Défense de la Démocracie en Pologne, France
Association des anciennes députées de l ‘Assemblée Nationale française
Association for Family Planning and Sexual Health, Latvia
Association HERA-XXI, Georgia
Association Histoire, Femmes et Sociétés- revue Clio, France
Association Mnémosyne, France
AIED – Associazione Italiana per l’Educazione demografica, Italy
Asia Pacific Alliance for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (APA)
Asian-Pacific Resource and Resarch Centre for Women (ARROW), Malaysia
ASTRA Network
ASTRA Youth Network
Atria – Institute for Gender Equality and Women’s History, the Netherlands
ATTAC France
‘’AUT’’ LGBTIQ+ student initiative, Croatia
Avortament Lliure i Gratuït. Dret al Propi Cos, Spain
Avortement en Europe, les Femmes décident, France
Autonomous Women’s House Zagreb – Women Against Violence Against Women, Croatia
B.a.B.e. (Be active, Be emancipated), Croatia
UK All Party Parliamentary Group on Population, Development & Reproductive Health, UK
Beyond Beijing Committee, Nepal
Calala Fondo de Mujeres, Spain
The Catalan Family Planning Association, Catalonia
Catholics for Choice
Center for Community Mediation and Security, Romania
Center for Health, Ethics and Social Policy, USA
Center for Promotion and Defense of Sexual and Reproductive Rights, Peru
Center for Reproductive Rights
Centre Women and Modern World, Azerbaijan
Center for Women’s Studies of the Faculty of Philosophy and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb, Croatia
CEDES – Center for the Study of State and Society, Argentina
Centro de Estudios e Investigación sobre Mujeres, Spain
CGT France
CHOICE for Youth and Sexuality, the Netherlands
City University of New York Law School, Gender Justice Clinic, USA
Clínica Dator, Spain
Colectivo de Salud Feminista, Argentina
Collectif 13 Droits des femmes, France
Collectif des Féministes pour l’Egalité, France
Collectif Féministes contre le cyberharcèlement, France
Collectif Libertaire Anti-Sexiste
Collectif National pour les Droits des Femmes, France
Confédération Française Démocratique du Travail, France
Conseil National des Femmes Françaises, France
Culture, Egalité, France
Danish Family Planning Association, Denmark
Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevölkerung (DSW), Germany
Development Aleternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN)
Diverse Voices and Action (DIVA) for Equality, Fiji
Doctors for Choice UK
DOK – Democracy is OK, Poland
Drogheda Abortion Rights Campaign, Ireland
Dziewuchy Dziewuchom Berlin, Germany
El Colectivo Hetaira, Spain
Encore Féministes! – Network, France
Ensemble! – Political Movement, France
Equidad de Género, Ciudadanía, Trabajo y Familia, México
Equilibres & Populations (Equipop), France
Estonian Sexual Health Association, Estonia
European Association for the Defence of Human Rights
European Civic Forum
European Humanist Federation, France
European NGOs for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, Population and Development
European Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development
European Women’s Lobby
Family Planning and Sexual Health Association, Lithuania
Family Planning Association of Moldova
Fédération de Normandie du Planning Familial, France
Federation for Women and Family Planning, Poland
Fédération Laïque de Centres de Planning Familial, Belgium
Fédération Nationale Solidarité Femmes, France
Fédération Nationale Sud Santé-Sociaux, France
FEMEN International
Féministes pour une autre Europe, France
Femmes Contre les Intégrismes, France
Femmes Libres Radio libertaire, France
Femmes pour le Dire, Femmes pour Agir, France
Femini Berlin Polska Berliński Kongres Kobiet Manifest Wolnej Polski (Congress of Women), Poland
FILIA Centre, Romania
FOKUS – Forum for Women and Development, Norway
Fórum de Política Feminista, Spain
Frente Ecuatoriano por la Defensa de los Derechos Sexuales y Reproductivos, Ecuador
Freedom of Choice, Slovakia
FRONT Association, Romania
Fundación Arcoiris. Mexico
Fundación ASPACIA, Spain
Fundación Desafío de Ecuador, Ecuador
Fundacja im. Kazimierza Łyszczyńskiego, Poland
Gals4Gals Lodz, Poland
Gender Alternatives Foundation, Bulgaria
GERT – Gender Education, Research and Technology Foundation, Bulgaria
Gender Scan, France
Global Doctors for Choice
Global Fund for Women, USA
Gramya Resource Centre for Women, India
Great Lakes Initiatives for Human Rights and Development, Rwanda
H.E.R.A. – Health Education and Research Association, Macedonia
HowToUse
Humanists UK
Human Rights Watch
ICRH-Mozambique (Centro Internacional para Saúde Reproductiva – Moçambique)
ILGA – Europe
International Campaign for Women’s Right to Safe Abortion
International Commission of Jurists
International Federation for Human Rights, France
International Women’s Health Coalition, USA
IPPF European Network
IPPF Global Federation
Irish Family Planning Association, Ireland
Kazakhstan Feminist Initiative “Feminita”
KOD – Independent Group Berlin, Germany
Kollektief Antikonceptie, Belgium
Komitet Obrony Demokracji – Niezależaa Grupa Berlin, Germany
L’Assemblée des Femmes, France
L’Egalité, c’est pas sorcier, France
La Paille et le Mil, France
Ladder for Rural Development, Malawi
League for International Women’s Rights, France
Legal Center for Women’s Initiatives “Sana Sezim”, Kazakhstan
Lesbian Group Kontra, Croatia
Les Effronté-es, France
Libres Mariannes, France
Lights4Rights, Belgium
Ligue des Droits de l’Homme, France
Lobby Europeo de Mujeres- LEM España, Spain
London-Irish Abortion Rights Campaign
Love Matters India
Luna Abortuscentrum Antwerpen, Belgium
Marche Mondiale des Femmes France
Marche Mondiale des Femmes Belgique, Belgium
Marche Mondiale des Femmes Midi-Pyrénées, France
Médecins du Monde, France
Medical Students for Choice
Mediterranean Women’s Fund, France
Mouvement Luxembourgeois pour le Planning Familial et l’Éducation Sexuelle, Luxembourg
Mujer y Salud en Uruguay
National Network of Abortion Funds, USA
Novgorod Gender Centre, Russia
Osez le Féminisme!, France
P&D Factor, Portugal
PaRiter, Croatia
PARI o DISPARE, Italy
Planned Parenthood Federation of America
Planning Familial 76, France
Planning Familial National, France
Plataforma CEDAW Sombra País Valenciano, Spain
Polish Rationalist Association, Poland
Polish Society of Antidiscrimination Law, Poland
Population Matters, United Kingdom
Pro familia Bundesverband, Germany
Regards de Femmes, France
Regina Women’s Network, Lithuania
Reproductive Health Matters
Reproductive Health Training Center, Moldova
RESURJ
Roda – Parents in Action, Croatia
Romanian Women’s Lobby, Romania
Ruptures, France
Rutgers, Netherlands
Safe2choose
SALUS Foundation, Ukraine
Sarajevo Open Centre, Bosnia
Sensoa, Belgium
Sex og Politikk, Norway
Sexual Health Switzerland
Sexual and Reproductive Justice Coalition, South Africa
Sexual Rights Initiative, Canada
SIA Legal Team
Society for Education on Contraception and Sexuality, Romania
Society Without Violence, Armenia
Solidarité France Grèce pour la Santé, France
S.O.S. Sexisme, France
Spanish Federation of Family Planning (FPFE), Spain
Surkuna – Centro de Apoyo y Protección de los Derechos Humanos, Ecuador
Sustainable Health Development Center – VietHealth, Vietnam
Tendo’s World (Arts & Health), Uganda
L’Union des Familles Laïques (Union of French Secular Families), France
Union syndicale Solidaires, France
Union Women Center, Georgia
Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights, USA
Väestöliitto – Family Federation of Finland
Voice for Choice UK
WISH Associates, South Africa
Women Enabled International
Women’s Front of Norway
Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR)
Women Help Women, Poland
Women on Waves
Women on Web
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, France
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Italy
Women’s Link Worldwide
Women’s Resource Center, Armenia
Women’s Rights Center, Armenia
Women’s Room – Center for Sexual Rights, Croatia
World Organisation against Torture
YouAct – the European Youth Network on Sexual and Reproductive Rights
Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights
Young Women for Change, Nepal
Youth Champions Advocacy Nepal (Youth CAN), Nepal
40 ans de movement, France

Via Center for Reproductive Rights