Polish Parliament Must Protect Women’s Health and Rights

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.

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  • Co-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, 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, Dziewuchy Dziewuchom Berlin, Germany, Diverse Voices and Action (DIVA) for Equality, Fiji, Doctors for Choice UK, DOK –Democracy is OK, Poland, Drogheda Abortion Rights Campaign, Ireland, 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, France, 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, 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, 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, ILGA -Europe, International Campaign for Women’s Right to Safe Abortion, International Commission of Jurists, International Federation for Human Rights, 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, 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, Mujer y Salud en Uruguay, Novgorod Gender Centre, Russia, Osez le Féminisme!, France, 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 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, Sexual Health, Switzerland, Sexual and Reproductive Justice Coalition, South Africa, Sexual Rights Initiative, Canada, 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, 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 mouvement, France

  • Member organisations - Poland
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