POLAND – Three political parties pledge to liberalise abortion law & Council of Europe issues warning

Three political parties pledge to liberalise Poland’s abortion law

“Polish women should have the same rights as women in Germany, Romania or France,” feminist activist Marcelina Zawisza, a member of Razem’s National Council, said yesterday. Her party has joined the Alliance of the Democratic Left and the Greens to work together in support of a political initiative for the liberalisation of abortion in the next parliamentary term. They have committed themselves to putting this subject at the heart of their campaigns during the next parliamentary elections. 

SOURCE: Courrier de Europe Centrale, 22 June 2019 (En français) ; ; PHOTO: European Greens, undated

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Council of Europe issues warning to Poland

The Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights has warned Poland against passing new restrictions on the right to abortion, which could lead to a virtual ban on abortion in the country, in a report made public on 28 June 2019.

The report was written following a visit to the country in March. It says Polish authorities “urgently need to adopt the necessary legislation to ensure the practical accessibility of legal abortion services” in the country. Presenting the report, Commissioner Dunja Mijatovic from Bosnia said: “Although Poland already has very restrictive legislation, there have been repeated attempts to further reduce access to abortion, including a bill pending in Parliament.” And she added: “It must be rejected.”

The law currently permits abortion only in cases of rape, incest, danger to the life of the mother, or irreversible malformation of the fetus. Commissioner Mijatovic notes that the bill proposes to abolish the right to abortion in cases of fetal malformation, which represent the overwhelming majority of abortions still provided in Poland. She believes that adopting this bill would effectively lead to “an almost total ban on abortions” in the country. She also notes with concern that at present “many Polish women resort to illegal abortions or go abroad for help and that in some parts of Poland abortion is either completely unavailable or very seriously limited.”

Stressing that a large number of doctors are using the conscience clause to refuse to prescribe contraceptives as well, she also asks that the morning after pill be provided without a medical prescription, which has not been the case since July 2017.
SOURCE: Ouest France, 28 June 2019  (En français)