Over 200 Sexual Reproductive Right's NGOs Call for Polish Parliament to Protect Women’s Health and Rights

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Proposed Bill Continues Roll Back on Reproductive Rights
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Poland’s Parliament should listen to the voices of women across Poland and reject a regressive legislative proposal that would erode reproductive rights, over 200 human and women’s rights groups from across the globe said in a statement issued today.

The Parliament is debating a draft bill entitled “Stop Abortion.” If adopted, this legislation will severely limit the already restricted grounds on which women can lawfully access abortion in Poland. It will place women’s health and lives at risk and violate Poland’s international human rights obligations, the groups said.

The statement calls on Polish lawmakers to cease relentless attempts to roll back the reproductive rights of women in Poland and underlines the danger that will be posed to women and girls in Poland if the regressive law is adopted.

Statement follows:


Polish Parliament Must Protect Women’s Health and Rights 

22 March 2018 

We are deeply concerned by relentless attempts to roll back the reproductive rights of women in Poland.

This week Poland’s parliament is debating a new draft bill entitled “Stop Abortion.” If adopted, this legislation will further limit the already restricted grounds on which women can lawfully access abortion in Poland. It will place women’s health and lives at risk and violate Poland’s international human rights obligations. 

We call on Members of Poland’s Parliament to listen to the voices of women across Poland and to reject this regressive legislative proposal and protect women’s health and human rights.

Poland already has one of Europe’s most restrictive abortion laws. Abortion is only lawful to safeguard the life or health of women, in situations of severe fetal 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 latest “Stop Abortion” proposal seeks to ban abortion in situations where there is a severe fetal anomaly.

If the “Stop Abortion” bill is passed it will mean that abortion care will no longer be available to women in Poland when they receive a diagnosis of a severe or fatal fetal anomaly. Official statistics from 2016 show that in practice 96% of legal abortions in Poland are performed on these grounds.  Most women in Poland who decide to end a pregnancy resulting from rape or because their health is at risk are unable to access legal abortion care in Poland and must travel outside the country to do so. This bill would further hinder women, particularly those from low-income and rural communities, from accessing safe abortion care.

Since 2011, Poland’s government has launched repeated attacks on women’s reproductive rights. In 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2016 draft legislative proposals were introduced that contained total or near total bans on abortion. Following massive public protests, such as the Black Protests in 2016, these draft bills were defeated. 

Prohibiting women from accessing safe, legal abortion violates a number of human rights enshrined in international law, including the rights to life, health and health care, nondiscrimination and equality, privacy, and freedom from cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. The European Court of Human Rights has previously ruled that the Polish government, in hindering timely access to abortion, has violated women’s rights under the European Convention on Human Rights. Numerous international human rights bodies, including the UN Human Rights Committee, the Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, the Committee on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women, and the Committee Against Torture, have called on governments to remove barriers to abortion services and ensure access to safe and legal abortion.  


  1. Abortion Rights Campaign, Ireland
  2. Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada, Canada
  3. Abortion Support Network, United Kingdom
  4. ACAI, Spain
  5. Agrupación de Madrid del Forum de Política Feminista, Spain
  6. Albanian Center for Population and Development, Albania
  7. A.L.E.G. Romania
  8. Alianza por la Solidaridad, Spain
  9. Alliance des Femmes pour la Démocratie, France
  10. Alliance for Choice in Northern Ireland, UK
  11. ALRANZ Abortion Rights Aotearoa, New Zealand
  12. Amnesty International
  13. AnA Society for Feminist Analyses, Romania
  14. ANCIC, France
  15. Asia Pacific Alliance for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (APA)
  16. Asociación con la A, Spain
  17. Asociación Feminista, Spain
  18. Association Défense de la Démocracie en Pologne, France
  19. Association des anciennes députées de l ‘Assemblée Nationale française
  20. Association for Family Planning and Sexual Health, Latvia
  21. Association HERA-XXI, Georgia
  22. Association Histoire, Femmes et Sociétés- revue Clio, France
  23. Association Mnémosyne, France
  24. AIED - Associazione Italiana per l\'Educazione demografica, Italy
  25. Asia Pacific Alliance for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (APA)
  26. Asian-Pacific Resource and Resarch Centre for Women (ARROW), Malaysia
  27. ASTRA Network
  28. ASTRA Youth Network
  29. Atria - Institute for Gender Equality and Women's History, the Netherlands
  30. ATTAC France
  31. ‘’AUT’’ LGBTIQ+ student initiative, Croatia
  32. Avortament Lliure i Gratuït. Dret al Propi Cos, Spain
  33. Avortement en Europe, les Femmes décident, France
  34. Autonomous Women’s House Zagreb – Women Against Violence Against Women, Croatia
  35. B.a.B.e. (Be active, Be emancipated), Croatia
  36. UK All Party Parliamentary Group on Population, Development &, Reproductive Health, UK
  37. Beyond Beijing Committee, Nepal
  38. Calala Fondo de Mujeres, Spain
  39. The Catalan Family Planning Association, Catalonia
  40. Catholics for Choice
  41. Center for Community Mediation and Security, Romania
  42. Center for Health, Ethics and Social Policy, USA
  43. Center for Promotion and Defense of Sexual and Reproductive Rights, Peru
  44. Center for Reproductive Rights
  45. Centre Women and Modern World, Azerbaijan
  46. Center for Women's Studies of the Faculty of Philosophy and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb, Croatia
  47. CEDES – Center for the Study of State and Society, Argentina
  48. Centro de Estudios e Investigación sobre Mujeres, Spain
  49. CGT France
  50. CHOICE for Youth and Sexuality, the Netherlands
  51. City University of New York Law School, Gender Justice Clinic, USA
  52. Clínica Dator, Spain
  53. Colectivo de Salud Feminista, Argentina
  54. Collectif 13 Droits des femmes, France
  55. Collectif des Féministes pour l\'Egalité, France
  56. Collectif Féministes contre le cyberharcèlement, France
  57. Collectif Libertaire Anti-Sexiste
  58. Collectif National pour les Droits des Femmes, France
  59. Confédération Française Démocratique du Travail, France
  60. Conseil National des Femmes Françaises, France
  61. Culture, Egalité, France
  62. Danish Family Planning Association, Denmark
  63. Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevölkerung (DSW), Germany
  64. Development Aleternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN)
  65. Diverse Voices and Action (DIVA) for Equality, Fiji
  66. Doctors for Choice UK
  67. DOK – Democracy is OK, Poland
  68. Drogheda Abortion Rights Campaign, Ireland
  69. Dziewuchy Dziewuchom Berlin, Germany
  70. El Colectivo Hetaira, Spain
  71. Encore Féministes! - Network, France
  72. Ensemble! - Political Movement, France
  73. Equidad de Género, Ciudadanía, Trabajo y Familia, México
  74. Equilibres &, Populations (Equipop), France
  75. Estonian Sexual Health Association, Estonia
  76. European Association for the Defence of Human Rights
  77. European Civic Forum
  78. European Humanist Federation, France
  79. European NGOs for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, Population and Development
  80. European Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development
  81. European Women's Lobby
  82. Family Planning and Sexual Health Association, Lithuania
  83. Family Planning Association of Moldova
  84. Fédération de Normandie du Planning Familial, France
  85. Federation for Women and Family Planning, Poland
  86. Fédération Laïque de Centres de Planning Familial, Belgium
  87. Fédération Nationale Solidarité Femmes, France
  88. Fédération Nationale Sud Santé-Sociaux, France
  89. FEMEN International
  90. Féministes pour une autre Europe, France
  91. Femmes Contre les Intégrismes, France
  92. Femmes Libres Radio libertaire, France
  93. Femmes pour le Dire, Femmes pour Agir, France
  94. Femini Berlin Polska Berliński Kongres Kobiet Manifest Wolnej Polski (Congress of Women), Poland
  95. FILIA Centre, Romania
  96. FOKUS – Forum for Women and Development, Norway
  97. Fórum de Política Feminista, Spain
  98. Frente Ecuatoriano por la Defensa de los Derechos Sexuales y Reproductivos, Ecuador
  99. Freedom of Choice, Slovakia
  100. FRONT Association, Romania
  101. Fundación Arcoiris. Mexico
  102. Fundación ASPACIA, Spain
  103. Fundación Desafío de Ecuador, Ecuador
  104. Fundacja im. Kazimierza Łyszczyńskiego, Poland
  105. Gals4Gals Lodz, Poland
  106. Gender Alternatives Foundation, Bulgaria
  107. GERT – Gender Education, Research and Technology Foundation, Bulgaria
  108. Gender Scan, France
  109. Global Doctors for Choice
  110. Global Fund for Women, USA
  111. Gramya Resource Centre for Women, India
  112. Great Lakes Initiatives for Human Rights and Development, Rwanda
  113. H.E.R.A. – Health Education and Research Association, Macedonia
  114. HowToUse
  115. Humanists UK
  116. Human Rights Watch
  117. ICRH-Mozambique (Centro Internacional para Saúde Reproductiva – Moçambique)
  118. ILGA - Europe
  119. International Campaign for Women’s Right to Safe Abortion
  120. International Commission of Jurists
  121. International Federation for Human Rights, France
  122. International Women’s Health Coalition, USA
  123. IPPF European Network
  124. IPPF Global Federation
  125. Irish Family Planning Association, Ireland
  126. Kazakhstan Feminist Initiative "Feminita"
  127. KOD - Independent Group Berlin, Germany
  128. Kollektief Antikonceptie, Belgium
  129. Komitet Obrony Demokracji - Niezależaa Grupa Berlin, Germany
  130. L\'Assemblée des Femmes, France
  131. L\'Egalité, c\'est pas sorcier, France
  132. La Paille et le Mil, France
  133. Ladder for Rural Development, Malawi
  134. League for International Women’s Rights, France
  135. Legal Center for Women’s Initiatives “Sana Sezim”, Kazakhstan
  136. Lesbian Group Kontra, Croatia
  137. Les Effronté-es, France
  138. Libres Mariannes, France
  139. Lights4Rights, Belgium
  140. Ligue des Droits de l\'Homme, France
  141. Lobby Europeo de Mujeres- LEM España, Spain
  142. London-Irish Abortion Rights Campaign
  143. Love Matters India
  144. Luna Abortuscentrum Antwerpen, Belgium
  145. Marche Mondiale des Femmes France
  146. Marche Mondiale des Femmes Belgique, Belgium
  147. Marche Mondiale des Femmes Midi-Pyrénées, France
  148. Médecins du Monde, France
  149. Medical Students for Choice
  150. Mediterranean Women’s Fund, France
  151. Mouvement Luxembourgeois pour le Planning Familial et l’Éducation Sexuelle, Luxembourg
  152. Mujer y Salud en Uruguay
  153. National Network of Abortion Funds, USA
  154. Novgorod Gender Centre, Russia
  155. Osez le Féminisme!, France
  156. P&,D Factor, Portugal
  157. PaRiter, Croatia
  158. PARI o DISPARE, Italy
  159. Planned Parenthood Federation of America
  160. Planning Familial 76, France
  161. Planning Familial National, France
  162. Plataforma CEDAW Sombra País Valenciano, Spain
  163. Polish Rationalist Association, Poland
  164. Polish Society of Antidiscrimination Law, Poland
  165. Population Matters, United Kingdom
  166. Pro familia Bundesverband, Germany
  167. Regards de Femmes, France
  168. Regina Women’s Network, Lithuania
  169. Reproductive Health Matters
  170. Reproductive Health Training Center, Moldova
  171. RESURJ
  172. Roda – Parents in Action, Croatia
  173. Romanian Women's Lobby, Romania
  174. Ruptures, France
  175. Rutgers, Netherlands
  176. Safe2choose
  177. SALUS Foundation, Ukraine
  178. Sarajevo Open Centre, Bosnia
  179. Sensoa, Belgium
  180. Sex og Politikk, Norway
  181. Sexual Health Switzerland
  182. Sexual and Reproductive Justice Coalition, South Africa
  183. Sexual Rights Initiative, Canada
  184. SIA Legal Team
  185. Society for Education on Contraception and Sexuality, Romania
  186. Society Without Violence, Armenia
  187. Solidarité France Grèce pour la Santé, France
  188. S.O.S. Sexisme, France
  189. Spanish Federation of Family Planning (FPFE), Spain
  190. Surkuna - Centro de Apoyo y Protección de los Derechos Humanos, Ecuador
  191. Sustainable Health Development Center – VietHealth, Vietnam
  192. Tendo’s World (Arts &, Health), Uganda
  193. L\'Union des Familles Laïques (Union of French Secular Families), France
  194. Union syndicale Solidaires, France
  195. Union Women Center, Georgia
  196. Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights, USA
  197. Väestöliitto – Family Federation of Finland
  198. Voice for Choice UK
  199. WISH Associates, South Africa
  200. Women Enabled International
  201. Women’s Front of Norway
  202. Women's Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR)
  203. Women Help Women, Poland
  204. Women on Waves
  205. Women on Web
  206. Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, France
  207. Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Italy
  208. Women's Link Worldwide
  209. Women’s Resource Center, Armenia
  210. Women’s Rights Center, Armenia
  211. Women’s Room – Center for Sexual Rights, Croatia
  212. World Organisation against Torture
  213. YouAct - the European Youth Network on Sexual and Reproductive Rights
  214. Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights
  215. Young Women for Change, Nepal
  216. Youth Champions Advocacy Nepal (Youth CAN), Nepal
  217. 40 ans de movement, France