“Abortion – safe, free, legal and, above all, actually available whenever it is needed, regardless of the reason a person has for deciding not to continue a pregnancy.” “No shame, no fear” …with such slogans around 1,000 marched in Warsaw for the second time on 28 September. The discussion about abortion has been going on for many years and nothing comes from it, but the reality is that every day many of us terminate pregnancies. … Continued
The Polish parliament was to discuss a so-called “Stop Paedophilia” bill (which is not about paedophilia at all) on 16 October 2019. The bill, supported by the governing conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party, aims to criminalise sex educators, who are threatened with three or even five years in prison for teaching about sexual and reproductive health, human sexuality, healthy relationships, intimate life and prevention of violence. The authors and publishers of books or magazines … Continued
On 25 September 2019, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) Petra de Sutter and Sophie in ‘t Veld released a statement on behalf of the group MEPs for Sexual and Reproductive Rights, of which they are co-chairs. The statement was about the US initiative against sexual and reproductive health and rights in the United Nations. It was addressed to Federica Mogherini, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and Neven … Continued
It seems there is a new high-level forum where anti-choice ideas are circulating, created by Hungarian Prime Minister Orbán – see the Budapest Demographic Summit which took place the first week of September. It attracted very high-level representation from Eastern Europe and beyond (i.e. representatives of the US and Brazilian governments, Africa and Asia) as well as many well-known anti-choice personalities.
This article explains how the strategic use of public health evidence, showing that criminalisation of abortion does not result in lower abortion rates, is changing the way judges are confronting constitutional challenges to abortion regulations. The state may have a legitimate interest – and in some legal systems, a duty – to protect prenatal life. Nevertheless, courts are upholding regulations liberalising abortion and declaring criminalisation regimes unconstitutional. This is possible given that lower abortion rates are not achieved through criminalisation, but through preventive policies. In addition, courts uphold liberalisation when the infringement of women’s rights resulting from criminalisation outweighs its purported benefits. This new legal narrative has been developed during the last decades by a series of court decisions in Europe and Latin America, and may prove useful for legal advocacy in some countries in Africa. The narrative combines the use of an analytical framework called the proportionality principle with an interpretation of constitutional rights that draws from gender-sensitive international human rights standards and factual evidence about the effects of criminalisation on women’s lives and health.