On Thursday, September 22nd, Polish members of Parliament debated on two civic proposals of law concerning abortion. The “Stop Abortion” initiative assumes a complete prohibition of abortion with no exception. Additionally it proposes criminalization of women who committed abortion illegally up to five years. The project excludes pre-natal tests and sexuality education. It equals women’s right to health with the rights of embryos. Polish women will be forced to give birth even if they are victims of rape, when they have serious fetal abnormality and even when their health and life are at risk.
The “Save the Women” initiative proposed a project of liberalization of the current abortion law. Abortion would be allowed until 12th week of pregnancy. Additionally, it sexuality education, broad access to reimbursed and modern contraception, pre-natal tests and other elements of reproductive health.
Unfortunately, this project was rejected in the first reading in Parliament on Friday, September 23rd. The “Stop Abortion” project was referred to further procedures. With this decision Polish women have lost the rest of their reproductive rights.
The discussion in Parliament regarding these projects was outrageous. Certain members of Parliament claimed that Poland will be the beginning of a new pro-life civilization. They expect that other countries will follow. Women’s rights have then completely denied and held in contempt.
Federation for Women and Family Planning, Poland
The Polish Parliament will today debate two bills concerning access to legal and safe abortion one aiming to implement a total ban on abortion and the other one introducing a liberalization of the current law. ASTRA, ASTRA Youth and CHOICE for Youth and Sexuality have prepared this statement to draw attention on the stand of Polish government complying with its human rights obligations towards the women of Poland.
This statement was presented to Members of the Polish Parliament on September 22nd 2016.
This Joint Statement and Call for Action for the Polish Parliament to Examine the Right to Access to Safe and Legal Abortion urges the government in Poland to dismiss the “Stop Abortion” draft bill and to takes immediate steps towards the realization of:
1. Women’s reproductive rights by ensuring the fulfillment of access to safe and legal abortion services nation-wide for all women in Poland without stigmatization, discrimination, intimidation or victimization of women requiring these services;
2. Relevant monitoring of number and conditions of illegal abortions;
3. Ensuring access to sexuality education and broad access to modern contraception in order to prevent unwanted pregnancies.
Access the statement HERE.
As Poland’s rightwing ruling party seeks to tighten an already restrictive abortion law, there is a growing solidarity among women in the struggle for our reproductive rights.
In my desk drawer, I have the signatures of 1,500 Polish women who support liberalising our country’s abortion law, which bans the procedure except in cases of rape, incest, foetal anomalies, or when the pregnant woman’s life is in danger. The signatures arrived too late – the day after our petition to support a more liberal law was due to be delivered to the Sejm, the lower house of parliament, but I won’t throw them out. I know what they represent – the growing solidarity among Polish women (and many men) in the struggle for our reproductive rights, a struggle once left to feminist groups working at society’s margins.
Read the whole article here.
On 18th of September thousands gathered outside the national parliament in Warsaw to protest against proposed stricter abortion law. Demonstration was organized by women's initiatives and organizations, including Federation for Women and Family Planning.
Both, the “Stop Abortion” draft law and Save Women draft law, will be debated in polish parliament next Thursday (22nd September).
Media about Save Women demonstratoin:
UN agencies supporting women’s rights have been asked today to send "a strong signal” to governments around the world by passing a resolution at this year's UN General Assembly in September to make International Safe Abortion Day an official UN day. An Open Letter was sent to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the heads of UN Women, UN Development Programme, World Health Organization, UN Population Fund, UN Children’s Fund, UNAIDS, and UNESCO today.