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Rutgers co-signs plea to Polish parliament NOT to adopt “Stop Abortion” bill

Rutgers joins over 200 global human and women's rights groups today in voicing its deep concern about the further restriction of women’s reproductive rights in Poland. The organisations call on members of the Polish parliament to listen to the voices of women across Poland and not to adopt the new “Stop Abortion” bill. This draft bill further limits the already restricted grounds on which women can legally access abortion in Poland, endangering lives and violating human rights obligations.

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.