Poland: Lawmaker Faces Charges for Pro-Choice Protest

Targeting MP Escalates Attacks on Women’s Rights, Free Speech

December 4, 2022

(Berlin) – Poland’s government should immediately drop charges against a member of parliament who participated in a pro-choice protest and stop targeting reproductive rights activists, Human Rights Watch said today.

On November 29, 2022, the Toruń prosecutor’s office charged Joanna Scheuring-Wielgus, a member of the Left (Lewica) party, with “offending religious feelings” and “malicious interference with religious worship.” Each offense carries a penalty of up to two years in prison. She pleaded not guilty.

Continued: https://www.hrw.org/news/2022/12/04/poland-lawmaker-faces-charges-pro-choice-protest


France Expands Abortion Access in Two Key Moves

Positive Steps Advance Reproductive Rights

March 1, 2022
Hillary Margolis, Senior Researcher, Women's Rights Division, Human Rights Watch

Over the past 10 days, France made two notable advances for reproductive rights. On February 23, parliament voted to extend the legal timeframe for abortion under any circumstances from the twelfth to the fourteenth week of pregnancy. On February 19, the government eased access to medication abortion as an alternative to more invasive surgical procedures.

France’s 12-week time limit for abortion on request had forced thousands of women annually to travel outside of France to procure legal abortions. Its new 14-week limit mirrors that of Spain, while other European Union countries go further: abortion for any reason is legal in Sweden up to 18 weeks and in the Netherlands up to 24 weeks.

Continued: https://www.hrw.org/news/2022/03/01/france-expands-abortion-access-two-key-moves


How does Texas’ abortion law stack up with the rest of the developed world?

Sep 4, 2021
By Rob Picheta, CNN

Texas' ban on abortion beyond six weeks —
before many women even know they have conceived — has widened the reproductive
health gap between the United States and other leading democracies.

The U.S. Supreme Court formally denied a request from Texas abortion providers
to freeze the new law on Wednesday, even though it violates Roe v. Wade, which
legalized abortion across the U.S. prior to viability, which happens at around
24 weeks of pregnancy.

Continued: https://www.koco.com/article/how-does-texas-abortion-law-stack-up-with-the-rest-of-the-developed-world/37478205


Poland: Escalating Threats to Women Activists

Human Rights Watch
March 31, 2021

(Berlin) – Bomb and death threats targeting at least seven groups in Poland for supporting women’s rights and the right to abortion are disturbing reminders of escalating risks to women’s human rights defenders in the country, Human Rights Watch, CIVICUS, and International Planned Parenthood Federation-European Network (IPPF-EN) said today.

The authorities should urgently investigate, protect the women targeted and hold those responsible for the threats accountable. Polish officials should also counter abusive misinformation campaigns targeting activists.

Continued: https://www.hrw.org/news/2021/03/31/poland-escalating-threats-women-activists


In Europe and the US, abortion rights are under renewed threat

by Emma Reynolds, CNN
Sun November 1, 2020

(CNN)The Abortion Dream Team usually receives about 400 calls a month, from women seeking advice and information. Last week, the Polish advocacy group had 700 in the space of three days, according to team member Justyna Wydrzynska.

Some came from women who had just arrived at hospital to have abortions because of fetal defects -- only to be told to go home after Poland's highest court on October 22 imposed a near-total ban on abortion.

Continued: https://www.cnn.com/2020/11/01/europe/abortion-rights-poland-us-slovakia-intl/index.html


Poland Court Ruling Effectively Bans Legal Abortions

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.

Continued: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/22/world/europe/poland-tribunal-abortions.html


Italy: Covid-19 Exacerbates Obstacles to Legal Abortion

Inadequate Measures Heighten Existing Risks for Health, Lives

July 30, 2020

(London) – Government inaction has left women and girls facing avoidable obstacles to accessing legal abortion in Italy during the Covid-19 pandemic, putting their health and lives at risk, Human Rights Watch said today.

The government’s failure to ensure clear pathways to essential, time-sensitive medical care during the pandemic caused interruptions to abortion services and prevented some women from accessing abortion within the legal time limit, exacerbating longstanding barriers to safe and legal abortion in Italy.

Continued: https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/07/30/italy-covid-19-exacerbates-obstacles-legal-abortion


Protesting Poles engage in drive for abortion rights

Protesting Poles engage in drive for abortion rights

Joanna Plucinska, Reuters
April 14, 2020

WARSAW — Poles took to social media and their cars on Tuesday to oppose proposals set to be discussed in parliament this week to limit abortion rights and to criminalize sex education in conservative Poland.

As restrictions on movement to contain the novel coronavirus prevented street gatherings, protesters driving in their cars blocked off one of Warsaw’s main roundabouts, Rondo Dmowskiego.

Continued: https://nationalpost.com/pmn/health-pmn/protesting-poles-engage-in-drive-for-abortion-rights


Poland: Reject New Curbs on Abortion, Sex Ed

Poland: Reject New Curbs on Abortion, Sex Ed
Don’t Manipulate Pandemic to Endanger Women, Adolescents

April 14, 2020
Human Rights Watch

(London) – Poland’s Parliament will consider regressive legislation this week that would restrict sexual and reproductive health and rights and put the lives and well-being of women and adolescents at risk, Human Rights Watch said today. The legislation is scheduled for reading on April 15 or 16, 2020 as the country remains under a COVID-19-related state of emergency that bans group gatherings.

The bills under consideration were originally introduced in March 2018 and October 2019, and have since been stalled or not moved forward under the Parliament elected in November 2019. Both were met by street protests.

Continued: https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/04/14/poland-reject-new-curbs-abortion-sex-ed


England Leads Way in UK after U-Turn on COVID-19 Abortion Access

England Leads Way in UK after U-Turn on COVID-19 Abortion Access
Rest of UK, Europe Should Follow

March 31, 2020
Hillary Margolis, Senior Researcher, Women's Rights Division

The UK’s Department of Health and Social Care has confirmed it will allow women in England temporarily to manage medical abortions at home in light of the lockdown imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Health authorities in Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales – and governments across Europe – should swiftly follow suit.

The welcome decision follows outrage and confusion last week after the government announced the change only to reverse it hours later.

Continued: https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/03/31/england-leads-way-uk-after-u-turn-covid-19-abortion-access