The Center for Reproductive Rights applauds the Polish
Parliament’s rejection of a bill that sought to impose an absolute ban on abortion.
Nevertheless, in light of the harmful impact of Poland’s
failure to ensure access to abortion under its already restrictive abortion
law, the introduction of this extreme bill—and its defeat by only a narrow
margin—is alarming. Poland only permits abortion when the pregnancy endangers the woman’s
life or health, or in cases of rape, incest, or severe and irreversible fetal
impairment. As a result, women often procure clandestine abortions that may
occur in unsafe conditions, posing a risk to their health or lives, or they
must travel to other European countries to obtain a legal abortion, which often
imposes a significant financial burden.
The Center and the Polish
Federation for Women and Family Planning submitted a
legal and policy memorandum to the Polish Parliament, which showed that the adoption
of the bill would have been inconsistent with significant decisions made by European
courts on abortion rights and with the vast majority of European countries’
laws. Furthermore, the memorandum demonstrated that adoption of the bill would have
violated international and regional human rights standards and had the
potential to jeopardize women’s health and lives.
Center for Reproductive Rights calls
on the Polish Parliament and Government to liberalize Poland’s restrictive
abortion law and to ensure timely access to legal abortion services for Polish