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.
The 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 women.