Abortion cannot be permitted on mental health grounds, declares Polish church

SEP 5, 2023
Notes from Poland

Poland’s Catholic church has declared that it is not legal, ethical or beneficial to women to allow abortion on the grounds that the mother suffers from a mental health problem. Permitting this would effectively mean “the relegalisation of abortion on demand”, warn the bishops.

Their position – which is contradicted by leading medical bodies – has been rejected by reproductive rights organisations in Poland, who also argue that the church has misinterpreted or misrepresented the law.

Continued: https://notesfrompoland.com/2023/09/05/abortion-cannot-be-permitted-on-mental-health-grounds-declares-polish-church/

Police at the hospital: Abortion battle heats up in Poland

The case of a humiliating police operation in response to a woman who’d taken an abortion pill has intensified debate over whether Poland’s abortion laws have gone too far.

Jacek Lepiarz
July 23, 2023

The leader of Poland's ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, likes to surround himself with women at campaign events. He courts them in the old Polish manner with a kiss on the hand, but such gestures belie the fact that his right-wing nationalist party is actually at war with the country's women.

An ever closer alliance between the Polish government and the Catholic Church has led to a radical tightening of abortion laws in recent years. In 2020, the PiS-controlled Constitutional Court removed the risk of serious fetal malformation as a condition allowing for legal abortion, creating a climate of fear and mistrust among doctors and women.

Continued: https://www.dw.com/en/police-at-the-hospital-abortion-battle-heats-up-in-poland/a-66319325

Pro-choice Catholics fight to seize the narrative from the religious right

Maya Yang
Mon 3 Jul 2023

Since the supreme court overturned Roe v Wade a year ago, reproductive rights have become an even more contentious issue in an already polarized landscape. With more than 1,500 politicians – mostly men – helping ban abortions since Roe fell, Catholic and pro-choice organizations are increasingly trying to carve out space for themselves in the nationwide dialogue to center their own messaging: that being Catholic and pro-choice are not mutually exclusive.

One organization trying to dismantle religious stigma surrounding abortions is Catholics For Choice, a Washington-DC based Catholic abortion rights advocacy group. For CFC, the belief in individual reproductive rights comes as a result of the Catholic faith, not in spite of.

Continued: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/jul/03/pro-choice-catholics-us

Poland – MPs who vote for abortion cannot receive holy communion, says head of Polish episcopate

JUN 22, 2023
Notes from Poland

Members of parliament who vote to allow abortion are “committing a grave sin and thus cannot receive holy communion”, the head of the Catholic church in Poland has warned.

His remarks come after all of Poland’s main opposition parties – most of whom have leaders who are practising Catholics – have expressed support for ending the current near-total ban on abortion, which is supported by the church.

Continued: https://notesfrompoland.com/2023/06/22/mps-who-vote-for-abortion-cannot-receive-holy-communion-says-head-of-polish-episcopate/

Northern Ireland – Sex education: Some schools tell pupils homosexuality is wrong, says report

June 12, 2023
By Robbie Meredith, BBC News NI education correspondent

Some schools in Northern Ireland are teaching pupils that homosexuality is wrong in relationships and sex education (RSE).

A Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHRC) report said "many schools use language that shames and stigmatises young people" who had sex.

Some told pupils that those who "engage in casual sex must bear the consequences of their actions".

Continued:  https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-northern-ireland-65871730

Ireland – Ivana Bacik: How abortion campaign went from ‘desperately lonely’ to ‘tremendously positive’

On a political level, there was very little to cling to as an abortion activist in the 80s and 90s, she says, and religion of course played a large part in that.

May 27, 2023

LABOUR LEADER IVANA Bacik spoke to The Journal about how the route to abortion rights went from being a “desperately lonely” movement on the periphery of society to becoming a mainstream political issue.

The subject of access to abortion stills holds the public’s attention today with a recent review finding that issues such as geographic location, the three-day waiting period and other obstacles still impede women’s access to abortion services.

Continued: https://www.thejournal.ie/ivana-bacik-interview-abortion-rights-ireland-6077186-May2023/

Safe havens? As some nations restrict access, a look at Europe’s abortion limits

Joanna YORK

As US states and nations such as Poland move towards restricting access to abortions, parts of Europe are seen as something of a safe haven for those looking to terminate pregnancies. However, a look at legislation across the continent shows vast discrepancies and how – even if the procedure is often legal – access to abortion is restricted by hurdles ranging from mandatory counselling to a lack of doctors willing to perform the procedure.

More than 95% of women in Europe live in countries that allow some access to abortion. Some 39 European countries have legalised abortion on request, albeit with some restrictions. Six countries have strict limits in place although only three (Andorra, Malta and San Marino) do not allow abortion at all.

Continued: https://www.france24.com/en/europe/20230419-safe-havens-as-some-nations-restrict-access-a-look-at-europe-s-limits-on-abortion

In Poland, the Catholic church backed abortion bans and authoritarian politics. Young people are turning away

The close ties between Poland’s ruling Law & Justice party and the church appear to be alienating voters

Maria Skóra
Wed 5 Apr 2023

The Catholic church in Poland is close to an existential crisis. For one of the most Catholic countries in the world, and the homeland of Pope John Paul II, this is unprecedented. Poland is not becoming an atheist country overnight, but the trend is indisputably towards secularisation, especially among younger Poles. This will have significant political consequences for the ruling national conservative Law & Justice party (PiS), which has close ties with the church. Meanwhile, the country’s next parliamentary elections are due to take place this autumn.

The Catholic faith has long been one of the distinctive pillars of Polishness, and played an important role in the nation-making process. In times of partitions, Nazi occupation and communism, the Catholic church portrayed itself as a bastion of resistance in the long quest for Polish independence.

Continued: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2023/apr/05/catholic-church-poland-law-and-justice-party-young-voters

In the Dominican Republic, the Fight for Abortion Rights Is a Fight Against Anti-Blackness

Afro-feminist movements push for comprehensive sex education, a cultural shift, and exceptions to a total abortion ban.

By Natalia Perez-Gonzalez
FEBRUARY 22, 2023

SANTO DOMINGO, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC—There’s a citywide blackout. No street lights, no shop lights—just headlights from passing cars. “This is just your typical Friday night,” Alicia Mendez Medina says, and a bodega worker nods from behind her. Alicia bids her goodbye and we head to Parque Duarte, the place many have described as “the it spot” for nightlife in Santo Domingo. She orders some wine.

“This country is a mess,” she laughs, and pours herself a glass. I can only see her cheekbones and her eyes, her back illuminated by phone flashlights from passersby. We restart our conversation, this time in almost complete darkness.

Continued: https://www.thenation.com/article/activism/dominican-republic-abortion/

Today in History: Arrest of Dr Willy Peers for performing 200 abortions

Sunday, 15 January 2023

On this day, in 1973, Doctor Willy Peers was arrested and prosecuted for performing over 200 abortions in Namur. The ensuing public outrage marked the beginning of a historic societal shift in favour of abortion in the country.

In 1973, Belgium was one of the last countries in Europe where voluntary interruption of pregnancy was still prohibited by law, due to the influence of the Catholic Church.

Continued: https://www.brusselstimes.com/belgium/352913/today-in-history-arrest-of-dr-willy-peers-for-performing-200-abortions