By Catarina Demony
NOVEMBER 16, 2020
LISBON (Reuters) - Helplines across Europe have reported higher demand for their services as the coronavirus pandemic adds to the hurdles many women face to access abortion.
While abortion is legal in most of Europe, some women have struggled to get appointments in public health systems overwhelmed by the pandemic. Others could not escape abusive partners because of lockdowns, non-governmental organisations and some women who chose to have an abortion told Reuters.
Anna Maria Jakubek and Isabel Guigui
Agence France-Presse Warsaw and Berlin
Wed, November 11, 2020
Abortion charities are reporting a sharp increase in the number of Polish women turning to them for help after a constitutional court ruling last month to tighten legislation.
For Ciocia Basia (Aunt Basia), a Berlin-based group helping Polish women with abortions in Germany, the ruling worsens a situation already complicated by the pandemic.
Institutions appear to enforce controversial ban despite legislation not yet taking effect
Fri 30 Oct 2020
Hospitals in Poland have been turning away women seeking abortions even though a court ruling that has instituted a near-total ban on terminations has not yet taken effect.
The ban, which outlaws one of the three narrow exceptions under which abortion is still permitted – that of severe foetal defects – has sparked huge protests in Poland.
The decision, which cannot be appealed, halts pregnancy terminations for fetal abnormalities, virtually the only type currently performed in the country.
By Monika Pronczuk
Oct. 22, 2020
A constitutional tribunal in Poland ruled on Thursday that abortions for fetal abnormalities violate the country’s Constitution, effectively imposing a near-total ban in a nation that already had some of the strictest abortion laws in Europe.
The debate over a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy, a divisive issue in a staunchly Roman Catholic country, mirrors the bitter polarization of a society caught between traditional religious values and more liberal ones.
Meet the women across Europe who are resisting threats, both old and new, to reproductive rights in Poland.
28 September 2020
“It was the most incredible, amazing experience of my life,” the veteran women’s rights activist Mara Clarke told me. “It was totally insane. But also really wonderful. And proof that sisters and siblings can get shit done when they want to.”
In December 2019, three months before coronavirus was declared a global pandemic, a group of women from across Europe launched a bold, feminist response to Poland’s draconian anti-abortion laws: Abortion Without Borders.
In Poland, Abortion Access Worsens Amid Pandemic
Abortions were already difficult to obtain and then came the coronavirus.
By Jessica Bateman, Marta Kasztelan
May 1, 2020
The woman was 21 weeks pregnant when she contacted Abortion Without Borders (AWB), a network of activist groups that advises Polish women on how to access safe terminations. Normally, it would have been relatively simple to book a flight to the United Kingdom, where she could legally access a second-trimester abortion. But the coronavirus outbreak changed everything.
“We got her an appointment, but travel was a different matter,” said Mara Clarke, the founder of Abortion Support Network (ASN), which is part of AWB and helps women obtain abortions overseas. Poland closed its borders and grounded all flights and cross-border public transportation on March 15, meaning the woman would have had to travel to the German border, cross it, and take a train to one of Berlin’s airports.
Abortion Without Borders in the time of COVID-19
April 7, 2020
by Mara Clarke, Member, Abortion Without Borders/Founder, Abortion Support Network
In my 18+ years of talking about abortion, this is the first time that words have failed me. Please bear with me, while I try to explain to you the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on Abortion Without Borders (www.abortion.eu) and the people who contact us, seeking abortions.
Things started changing for Abortion Without Borders (AWB) on 13 March, when Poland announced they would be cancelling all flights, trains and busses – and stopping international post. Like so much of the news around Covid-19, this news was half true and some of these services continued to run. Before the Covid-19 crisis, the Abortion Without Border’s Polish helpline received an average of 300 calls per month. In three days alone, from 13-15 March, the helpline received 114 calls. From 13 March until 31 March, the helpline took 308 calls. This is a full month of calls in approximately two weeks.
Pro-choice activists launch abortion initiative in Poland
Abortion Without Borders to offer women advice and funds to seek treatment abroad
Shaun Walker, Central and eastern Europe correspondent
Tue 10 Dec 2019
An international group of pro-choice campaigners will launch an initiative in Poland this week to provide advice and funding for women to travel abroad to have abortions.
Poland has some of Europe’s most restrictive abortion laws, and proposals backed by the rightwing government to introduce a total ban on abortions in 2016 were scrapped only after large-scale protests.