Polish Parliament Must Protect Womens Health and Rights

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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

  1. Abortion Rights Campaign, Ireland
  2. Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada, Canada
  3. Abortion Support Network, United Kingdom
  4. ACAI, Spain
  5. Agrupación de Madrid del Forum de Política Feminista, Spain
  6. Albanian Center for Population and Development, Albania
  7. A.L.E.G. Romania
  8. Alianza por la Solidaridad, Spain
  9. Alliance des Femmes pour la Démocratie, France
  10. Alliance for Choice in Northern Ireland, UK
  11. ALRANZ Abortion Rights Aotearoa, New Zealand
  12. Amnesty International
  13. AnA Society for Feminist Analyses, Romania
  14. ANCIC, France
  15. Asia Pacific Alliance for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (APA)
  16. Asociación con la A, Spain
  17. Asociación Feminista, Spain
  18. Association Défense de la Démocracie en Pologne, France
  19. Association des anciennes députées de l ‘Assemblée Nationale française
  20. Association for Family Planning and Sexual Health, Latvia
  21. Association HERA-XXI, Georgia
  22. Association Histoire, Femmes et Sociétés- revue Clio, France
  23. Association Mnémosyne, France
  24. AIED - Associazione Italiana per l'Educazione demografica, Italy
  25. Asian-Pacific Resource and Resarch Centre for Women (ARROW), Malaysia
  26. ASTRA Network
  27. ASTRA Youth Network
  28. Atria - Institute for Gender Equality and Women's History, the Netherlands
  29. ATTAC France
  30. ‘’AUT’’ LGBTIQ+ student initiative, Croatia
  31. Avortament Lliure i Gratuït. Dret al Propi Cos, Spain
  32. Avortement en Europe, les Femmes décident, France
  33. Autonomous Women’s House Zagreb – Women Against Violence Against Women, Croatia
  34. B.a.B.e. (Be active, Be emancipated), Croatia
  35. UK All Party Parliamentary Group on Population, Development & Reproductive Health, UK
  36. Beyond Beijing Committee, Nepal
  37. Calala Fondo de Mujeres, Spain
  38. The Catalan Family Planning Association, Catalonia
  39. Catholics for Choice
  40. Center for Community Mediation and Security, Romania
  41. Center for Health, Ethics and Social Policy, USA
  42. Center for Promotion and Defense of Sexual and Reproductive Rights, Peru
  43. Center for Reproductive Rights
  44. Centre Women and Modern World, Azerbaijan
  45. Center for Women's Studies of the Faculty of Philosophy and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb, Croatia
  46. CEDES – Center for the Study of State and Society, Argentina
  47. Centro de Estudios e Investigación sobre Mujeres, Spain
  48. CGT France
  49. CHOICE for Youth and Sexuality, the Netherlands
  50. City University of New York Law School, Gender Justice Clinic, USA
  51. Clnica Dator, Spain
  52. Colectivo de Salud Feminista, Argentina
  53. Collectif 13 Droits des femmes, France
  54. Collectif des Féministes pour l'Egalité, France
  55. Collectif Féministes contre le cyberharcèlement, France
  56. Collectif Libertaire Anti-Sexiste
  57. Collectif National pour les Droits des Femmes, France
  58. Confédération Française Démocratique du Travail, France
  59. Conseil National des Femmes Françaises, France
  60. Culture, Egalité, France
  61. Dziewuchy Dziewuchom Berlin, Germany
  62. Diverse Voices and Action (DIVA) for Equality, Fiji
  63. Doctors for Choice UK
  64. DOK – Democracy is OK, Poland
  65. Drogheda Abortion Rights Campaign, Ireland
  66. El Colectivo Hetaira, Spain
  67. Encore Féministes! - Network, France
  68. Ensemble! - Political Movement, France
  69. Equidad de Género, Ciudadanía, Trabajo y Familia, México
  70. Equilibres & Populations (Equipop), France
  71. Estonian Sexual Health Association, Estonia
  72. European Association for the Defence of Human Rights
  73. European Civic Forum
  74. European Humanist Federation, France
  75. European NGOs for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, Population and Development
  76. European Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development
  77. European Women's Lobby
  78. Family Planning and Sexual Health Association, Lithuania
  79. Family Planning Association of Moldova
  80. Fédération de Normandie du Planning Familial, France
  81. Federation for Women and Family Planning, Poland
  82. Fédération Laïque de Centres de Planning Familial, France
  83. Fédération Nationale Solidarité Femmes, France
  84. Fédération Nationale Sud Santé-Sociaux, France
  85. FEMEN International
  86. Féministes pour une autre Europe, France
  87. Femmes Contre les Intégrismes, France
  88. Femmes Libres Radio libertaire, France
  89. Femmes pour le Dire, Femmes pour Agir, France
  90. Femini Berlin Polska Berliński Kongres Kobiet Manifest Wolnej Polski (Congress of Women), Poland
  91. FILIA Centre, Romania
  92. FOKUS – Forum for Women and Development, Norway
  93. Fórum de Política Feminista, Spain
  94. Frente Ecuatoriano por la Defensa de los Derechos Sexuales y Reproductivos, Ecuador
  95. Freedom of Choice
  96. FRONT Association, Romania
  97. Fundación Arcoiris. Mexico
  98. Fundación ASPACIA, Spain
  99. Fundación Desafío de Ecuador, Ecuador
  100. Fundacja im. Kazimierza Łyszczyńskiego, Poland
  101. Gals4Gals Lodz, Poland
  102. Gender Alternatives Foundation, Bulgaria
  103. GERT – Gender Education, Research and Technology Foundation, Bulgaria
  104. Gender Scan, France
  105. Global Doctors for Choice
  106. Global Fund for Women, USA
  107. Great Lakes Initiatives for Human Rights and Development, Rwanda
  108. H.E.R.A. – Health Education and Research Association, Macedonia
  109. HowToUse
  110. Humanists UK
  111. Human Rights Watch
  112. ILGA - Europe
  113. International Campaign for Women’s Right to Safe Abortion
  114. International Commission of Jurists
  115. International Federation for Human Rights, France
  116. International Women’s Health Coalition, USA
  117. IPPF European Network
  118. IPPF Global Federation
  119. Irish Family Planning Association, Ireland
  120. Kazakhstan Feminist Initiative "Feminita"
  121. KOD - Independent Group Berlin, Germany
  122. Kollektief Antikonceptie, Belgium
  123. Komitet Obrony Demokracji - Niezależaa Grupa Berlin, Germany
  124. L'Assemblée des Femmes, France
  125. L'Egalité, c'est pas sorcier, France
  126. La Paille et le Mil, France
  127. Ladder for Rural Development, Malawi
  128. League for International Women’s Rights, France
  129. Legal Center for Women’s Initiatives “Sana Sezim”, Kazakhstan
  130. Lesbian Group Kontra, Croatia
  131. Les Effronté-es, France
  132. Libres Mariannes, France
  133. Lights4Rights, Belgium
  134. Ligue des Droits de l'Homme, France
  135. Lobby Europeo de Mujeres- LEM España, Spain
  136. London-Irish Abortion Rights Campaign
  137. Luna Abortuscentrum Antwerpen, Belgium
  138. Marche Mondiale des Femmes France
  139. Marche Mondiale des Femmes Belgique, Belgium
  140. Marche Mondiale des Femmes Midi-Pyrénées, France
  141. Médecins du Monde, France
  142. Medical Students for Choice
  143. Mediterranean Women’s Fund, France
  144. Mujer y Salud en Uruguay
  145. Novgorod Gender Centre, Russia
  146. Osez le Féminisme!, France
  147. PaRiter, Croatia
  148. PARI o DISPARE, Italy
  149. Planned Parenthood Federation of America
  150. Planning Familial 76, France
  151. Planning Familial National, France
  152. Plataforma CEDAW Sombra País Valenciano, Spain
  153. Polish Society of Antidiscrimination Law, Poland
  154. Population Matters, United Kingdom
  155. Pro familia Bundesverband, Germany
  156. Regards de Femmes, France
  157. Regina Women’s Network, Lithuania
  158. Reproductive Health Matters
  159. Reproductive Health Training Center, Moldova
  160. RESURJ
  161. Roda – Parents in Action, Croatia
  162. Romanian Women's Lobby, Romania
  163. Ruptures, France
  164. Rutgers, Netherlands
  165. Safe2choose
  166. SALUS Foundation, Ukraine
  167. Sarajevo Open Centre, Bosnia
  168. Sensoa, Belgium
  169. Sexual Health Switzerland
  170. Sexual and Reproductive Justice Coalition, South Africa
  171. Sexual Rights Initiative, Canada
  172. Society for Education on Contraception and Sexuality, Romania
  173. Society Without Violence, Armenia
  174. Solidarité France Grèce pour la Santé, France
  175. S.O.S. Sexisme, France
  176. Spanish Federation of Family Planning (FPFE), Spain
  177. Surkuna - Centro de Apoyo y Protección de los Derechos Humanos, Ecuador
  178. Sustainable Health Development Center – VietHealth, Vietnam
  179. Tendo’s World (Arts & Health), Uganda
  180. L'Union des Familles Laïques (Union of French Secular Families), France
  181. Union syndicale Solidaires, France
  182. Union Women Center, Georgia
  183. Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights, USA
  184. Väestöliitto – Family Federation of Finland
  185. Voice for Choice UK
  186. WISH Associates, South Africa
  187. Women Enabled International
  188. Women’s Front of Norway
  189. Women's Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR)
  190. Women Help Women, Poland
  191. Women on Waves
  192. Women on Web
  193. Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, France
  194. Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Italy
  195. Women's Link Worldwide
  196. Women’s Resource Center, Armenia
  197. Women’s Rights Center, Armenia
  198. Women’s Room – Center for Sexual Rights, Croatia
  199. YouAct - the European Youth Network on Sexual and Reproductive Rights
  200. Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights
  201. Young Women for Change, Nepal
  202. Youth Champions Advocacy Nepal (Youth CAN), Nepal
  203. 40 ans de movement, France

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