Europe

The Center for Reproductive Rights works to advance and protect sexual and reproductive health and rights across the European region.

Summary

Despite many decades of progress, sexual and reproductive rights remain out of reach for many across Europe. Discrimination and inequality in the realization of these rights persist, and laws, policies, and practices in the sphere of sexual and reproductive health and rights continue to fall short of human rights standards and clinical best practices.  

The Center implements legal and policy strategies and uses human rights and comparative law as well as public health frameworks to address and confront these challenges. We work in close collaboration with civil society organizations, lawyers, medical professionals, human rights defenders, and the sexual and reproductive rights movement across Europe. We seek the adoption of laws and policies that advance and protect reproductive rights, safeguard against retrogression, and ensure governments adhere to human rights standards and clinical best practices.

In addition, we document reproductive rights violations and seek justice and accountability through the courts and before European and United Nations human rights mechanisms. We also work to strengthen protections for reproductive rights through engagement and advocacy with the European Union institutions and at the Council of Europe.

Key Facts

95%

Of women of reproductive age in Europe live in countries allowing abortion on request—yet many face barriers to access care.

16

EU member states do not provide undocumented migrant women with full equal access to affordable maternal health care during pregnancy.

11

EU member states discriminate against lesbian couples and single women and do not allow them equal access to assisted reproduction.

Work and Cases

Highlights of the Center’s work in the European region.

Addressing the increasing attacks against gender equality and sexual and reproductive health and rights in Europe.

Engaging with European multilateral bodies and policy makers to advance respect and protection for SRHR.

Addressing the entrenched challenges faced by marginalized groups in obtaining maternal health care.

Publications and Resources

European Abortion Laws:  Where Do They Stand? card link

European Abortion Laws: Where Do They Stand?

This comparative overview of abortion laws and policies in all 47 European countries provides a range of visual tools for analyzing European abortion laws. It outlines where abortion is legal and provides a snapshot of the legal and policy barriers that continue to impede access to abortion in many European countries. Read more.

Vakeras Zorales – Speaking Out: Roma Women’s Experiences in Reproductive Health Care in Slovakia card link

Vakeras Zorales – Speaking Out: Roma Women’s Experiences in Reproductive Health Care in Slovakia

This fact-finding report, published jointly with Poradňa pre občianske a ľudské práva, explores the experiences of Roma women who faced segregation and mistreatment in reproductive and maternal healthcare settings in Slovakia and outlines a series of recommendations for change. Read more.

Perilous Pregnancies: Barriers in Access to Affordable Maternal Health Care for Undocumented Migrant Women in the European Union card link

Perilous Pregnancies: Barriers in Access to Affordable Maternal Health Care for Undocumented Migrant Women in the European Union

This report examines the harmful legal and policy barriers that impede undocumented migrant women’s equal access to affordable and quality maternal health care throughout pregnancy and childbirth in the EU and recommends urgent legal and policy reforms. Read more.

Addressing Medical Professionals’ Refusals to Provide Abortion Care on Grounds of Conscience or Religion card link

Addressing Medical Professionals’ Refusals to Provide Abortion Care on Grounds of Conscience or Religion

This report provides a summary of international and European human rights standards on state obligations to guarantee access to legal reproductive health care and to ensure that refusals of care by medical professionals do not undermine access. Read more.

Mandatory Waiting Periods and Biased Counseling Requirements in Central and Eastern Europe card link

Mandatory Waiting Periods and Biased Counseling Requirements in Central and Eastern Europe

This fact sheet examines the wave of regressive legislative initiatives on abortion that spread across Central and Eastern Europe between 2009 and 2015 and explores the harmful impact of these attempts to impose new regressive preconditions on access to abortion. Read more.

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