Poland already has one of Europe’s most restrictive abortion laws. Currently, abortion is only lawful to safeguard the life or health of women, in situations of severe foetal 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 new bill would mean abortion care will no longer be available for women who receive a diagnosis of a severe or fatal anomaly. In 2016 96% of legal abortions were performed on that ground. Many women are already unable to access legal abortion care in Poland and must therefore travel abroad. The draft bill limits access even further, hitting women from low-income and rural communities in particular.
Human rights violations
In today’s plea to the Polish parliament, the 203 co-signatories state that: “prohibiting women from accessing safe, legal abortion violates a number of human rights enshrined in international law, including the right to life, health and health care, non-discrimination and equality, privacy, and freedom from cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.” You can read the full statement here.