Poland: A Year On, Abortion Ruling Harms Women

19/10/2021
International Federation for Human Rights

(Brussels, October 19, 2021) – Women, girls,
and all pregnant people have faced extreme barriers to accessing legal
abortions in the year since a Constitutional Tribunal ruling virtually banned
legal abortion in Poland, 14 human rights organizations said today. Since the
ruling, women human rights defenders have also faced an increasingly hostile
and dangerous environment.

Poland’s authorities should end efforts to undermine reproductive rights and
weaken protections from gender-based violence. They should commit to protecting
women human rights defenders who have faced ongoing threats and attacks since
the October 2020 decision. Escalating death threats since October 9 against
Marta Lempart, co-founder of Ognopolski Strajk Kobiet (All-Poland Women’s Strike)
and a target of repeated threats for leading demonstrations supporting legal
abortion and women’s rights, led to her police protection during public
appearances.

Continued: https://www.fidh.org/en/region/europe-central-asia/poland/poland-a-year-on-abortion-ruling-harms-women


SPAIN – Abortion is prohibited in Rioja

From: International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion
March 24, 2021
Source: https://mailchi.mp/safeabortionwomensright/24-march-2021?e=372dd34034

Background
Rioja is a province and autonomous community in northern Spain. A report in a feminist magazine called Pikara, published on 17 February 2021, reported that all the gynaecology staff in Rioja have signed a conscientious objection statement in order not to have to do voluntary abortions. Women from Rioja are therefore referred to other provinces, which can delay their abortions by as much as two weeks, despite the fact that the upper time limit for a legal abortion on request is 14 weeks and a three-day reflection period is also required.
 
This article focuses on the personal experiences of women who have tried to get an abortion in Rioja. After it was published, many feminist activists in the province expressed concern because they didn’t realise this situation existed. Other voices have been raised from other regions of Spain as well. This is very important for us at Women’s Link Worldwide, as we have been denouncing these situations for years and they are finally starting to get space in the media via personal testimonies, and not only based on the official statistics we have shared. The following are excerpts from the much longer Pikara article.
 
When Maria realised she was pregnant, she made an appointment with her family doctor for an abortion. She was a single mother with a one-year-old son and couldn't consider having another child at the time. The doctor was about to say "congratulations" when Maria burst into tears. “She treated me very well and started the process for me, but she was the only doctor who did treat me well.” Her doctor did not have the papers she needed for Maria to get an appointment at the local hospital, where she would be counselled and formally request an abortion. After the papers were finally sent in, however, the hospital did not contact Maria to make an appointment for ten days. So she went in person to ask what the problem was, and was told that the hospital, and no other hospital in Rioja, public or private, would help with abortion because of conscientious objection.
 
So Maria had to go looking for another hospital to counsel her. However, the staff at the one she found was on holiday for a week. By the time she saw someone, it was on a Wednesday, she was eight weeks pregnant. She was told she had to wait to collect the papers until the following Monday, though that was longer than the required three days for reflection. She began to feel overwhelmed because yet another week was going to go by. When she returned for the consultation and confirmed she wanted an abortion, she was given three options, all of which involved travel to another city – Zaragoza, Pamplona or Bilbao. She chose Bilbao because it was closest and she had a friend there. By the time she was able to get an appointment however, she was already 11.5 weeks pregnant. That was too late for medical abortion pills so she had a surgical abortion, and was given only a sedative.
 
Another woman, a mother of two children, was given a very hard time by the doctor who she saw to get permission for the abortion. She said: “In my case I already had two children. I know what a fetus can turn into later. It was very unpleasant. They even told me that they recommended I have my tubes tied, that I was irresponsible. I had to do a lot of paperwork and it took two weeks for me to make an appointment at a clinic in Pamplona. Then you get there and you find an anti-abortion demonstration at the door, telling you to put it up for adoption. I had to ask for the day off to go there, paying for the trip out of my pocket, have the intervention at five in the afternoon and by seven return home… When I had my third child, I was fired from my job while breastfeeding, despite having been at the company for five years. It's easy to say don't abort, of course, but then look what happens."
 
Another woman described how she experienced contraceptive failure and was told by the local hospital that abortion was illegal. As a public defender herself, she knew that was wrong, but rather than argue she decided to go to a private hospital in Logroño, the capital of Rioja, where they explained that they did not perform abortions either and that she should try a gynaecology clinic in the city. In the end she found a private clinic in Vitoria, a city near Bilbao, and paid 300 Euros plus the bus trip. The boyfriend had freaked out and disappeared, so she was relieved she hadn't had the baby. She said she didn’t dare to tell her family as she felt ashamed. “Before my abortion, I had no idea that this sort of thing was happening because no one talks about it,” she said.
 
One of the places that women in Rioja are seen locally is the hospital emergency room – if they are miscarrying, that is. “Officially, there is no one who performs abortions in Rioja, but sometimes women with ‘an abortion in progress’ arrive at the emergency room, and then they do care for you, of course, because it has already happened. Women come in bleeding because someone has given them the abortion pills, this happens a lot.”
 
There are also private clinics making money out of this situation. In 2019 the Socialist Party won the election in Rioja, and formed a government with United We Can. Although the pandemic has delayed action, a commitment has been made to ensure that a sufficient number of gynaecologists will provide abortions. A new equality bill is also on the table and ideas are being discussed for a law that will ensure abortion is provided in Rioja in the public health system. Let’s hope so.
 
BACKGROUND: by Laura Martínez Valero, Women’s Link Worldwide, E-mail: 11 March 2021.
REPORT: Prohibido abortar en La Rioja, by Teresa Villaverde, Pikara, 17 February 2021 (en español). VISUAL: Pikara logo.


Slovakian woman breaks silence on abortion as key vote nears

By Sophie Davies
OCTOBER 19, 2020

(Thomson Reuters Foundation) - When Ivana Gaziova had an abortion as a teenager, she didn’t want to talk about it to anyone apart from her closest cousin. Six years on, a push to tighten Slovakia’s abortion law impelled her to speak out.

Gaziova, a waitress from Bratislava, has gone public with her own story to campaign against the government-led proposal, which critics see as part of a trend towards more socially conservative policies in central Europe.

Continued: https://www.reuters.com/article/slovakia-women-abortion/feature-slovakian-woman-breaks-silence-on-abortion-as-key-vote-nears-idUSL8N2H65AV


Telemedicine and self-managed abortion: a discussion paper

by Marge Berer
26 August 2020

Introduction
Telemedicine for abortion care is the use of communications technology to arrange an abortion in a clinical setting or self-managed by the woman at home with medical abortion pills and for follow-up after the abortion. For International Safe Abortion Day, 28 September 2020, in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, the International Campaign for Women’s Right to Safe Abortion (ICWRSA) is promoting the use of telemedicine to arrange and follow-up an abortion and to support women’s right to have an abortion at home in the first trimester of pregnancy with medical abortion pills if she so chooses.

This discussion paper provides a history of how the use of telemedicine
and self-managed abortion with abortion pills at home have developed.
Initially, in Brazil in the 1980s, women shared information about the use of
misoprostol informally. Then, feminist-run safe abortion information hotlines
were set up, starting in 2005, to provide women with the information they need
(and in some cases provide the pills) to have an abortion at home. There are
currently one or more such hotlines in at least 26 countries in all world
regions. More recently, health professionals began to use what is now called
telemedicine (or telehealth) for this same purpose. This paper is about telemedicine
and the conditions that make self-managed abortion safe, and gives examples of
abortion services that put telemedicine and self-managed abortion together. It
also covers the role pharmacies can and are playing in support of these
changes.

Continued: https://mailchi.mp/safeabortionwomensright/newsletter-26-aug-2020?e=372dd34034


Five Statements of Support for WHO, with a Preface

Five Statements of Support for WHO, with a Preface
UNFP
22 May 2020
Preface, by Marge Berer

Today’s newsletter includes five statements – by the Campaign, an international group of CSOs, and IAWG, IPPF and Ipas – all in response to demands by the US government on the UN and the World Health Organization to omit any language or policy related to abortion and sexual and reproductive health from the Covid-19 response. This issue was not at all the focus of the World Health Assembly (WHA) on 18-19 May, however, as Trump hoped them to be. Instead, the other issues raised in his three letters to the heads of WHO and the UN – got all the attention, as well as a few more.

Continued: https://mailchi.mp/safeabortionwomensright/newsletter-22-may-2020?e=372dd34034


Slovakia’s Latest Regressive Abortion Bill Rejected: How Can Regressive Measures Against Women’s Reproductive Rights Be Countered?

Slovakia’s Latest Regressive Abortion Bill Rejected: How Can Regressive Measures Against Women’s Reproductive Rights Be Countered?

8 Dec, 2019
by Adrianne Ramirez
Organization for World Peace

On 5th December, the proposed regressive abortion law in Slovakia was rejected following a Parliamentary vote. The draft legislation required women seeking abortion care to undergo a mandatory ultrasound scanning, to view and obtain the embryo or foetus’ ultrasound image, and where technically possible, to listen to its heartbeat. Furthermore, it sought to prohibit abortion advertising as well as imposing a fine of up to 66,400 EU on those who order or disseminate it. Proposed by a centre-right party in the ruling coalition, it was the latest step in a campaign to tighten restrictions on abortion in Slovakia, in wake of the September protests that demanded a total ban. Though rejected, the mere possibility of this legislation being approved depicts tangible hazards on women’s reproductive rights. Beyond its local implications, it consequently contributes to the recent erosion of these rights worldwide.

Continued: https://theowp.org/slovakias-latest-regressive-abortion-bill-rejected-how-can-regressive-measures-against-womens-reproductive-rights-be-countered/


Slovakia – in sixth vote – backs abortion rights

Slovakia - in sixth vote - backs abortion rights

December 5, 2019
Molly Millar

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Slovakia narrowly defeated a bill on Thursday that would have forced women seeking an abortion to see images of their unborn child - and hear its heartbeat - in the country’s sixth vote on reproductive rights this year.

The legislation in overwhelmingly Catholic Slovakia would have been the first of its kind in the European Union, raising fears among human rights organizations of setting a precedent in nations pursuing a conservative social agen

Continued: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-britain-women-abortion/slovakia-in-sixth-vote-backs-abortion-rights-idUSKBN1Y92FY


Slovakia set to pass law forcing women to view images of embryo or foetus before abortion

Slovakia set to pass law forcing women to view images of embryo or foetus before abortion
The country's parliament will consider the law

Jon Stone, Europe Correspondent
Nov 28, 2019

Slovakian woman seeking an abortion would be forced to view pictures of their embryo or foetus under plans for a new law being considered by the country's parliament.

The draft law, to be voted on on Friday, would also require women to listen to the "foetal heartbeat" where technically possible before they could proceed with a termination.

Continued: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/slovakia-law-women-embryo-foetus-abortion-images-new-law-a9224976.html


Report: International Conference on Population & Development+25

International Conference on Population & Development+25
Nairobi, Kenya, 12-13-14 November 2019

Press Release: 22 November 2019

What was it about: some history

This conference has taken place every five years, beginning in 1994. At each follow-up meeting, the overarching purpose has been to measure progress (and the lack of progress) in implementing the 1994 Programme of Action, which was agreed by acclamation by the representatives of 179 countries, and the follow-up actions added at subsequent conferences. An excellent summary of the aims, goals and history of the conference can be found here and a 20th anniversary edition of the Programme of Action can be found here along with a global report on progress published in 2014.

In 1994, UNFPA, the conference convenor, described the Programme of Action as: “a bold new vision about the relationships between population, development and individual well-being… remarkable in its recognition that [sexual and] reproductive health and reproductive rights, as well as women's empowerment and gender equality, are cornerstones of population and development programmes. The Consensus is rooted in principles of human rights and respect for national sovereignty and various religious and cultural backgrounds.

Continued: https://mailchi.mp/safeabortionwomensright/press-release-international-conference-population-development-25?e=372dd34034


Abortion is Healthcare: 28 Providers

INTERNATIONAL SAFE ABORTION DAY 28 September 2019

Abortion is Healthcare: 28 Providers

A newsletter from the International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion, featuring the stories of 28 abortion providers, in honour of September 28.

Continued: https://mailchi.mp/safeabortionwomensright/abortion-is-healthcare-28-providers-for-international-safe-abortion-day?e=372dd34034