The continent’s abortion laws are a patchwork of progress and setbacks. And for many, accessing the right care at the right time is still a lottery.
BY GRACE BROWNE
JUN 22, 2023
ON MAY 26, 2018, Irish women spilled onto the streets to celebrate a historic win for reproductive rights and bodily autonomy. The staunchly Catholic country had overwhelmingly voted to scrap the Eighth Amendment of the Irish Constitution, under which abortion was essentially illegal—one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the world.
Five years on, the mood has sobered. Under the new laws, those seeking an abortion have to undergo a mandatory waiting period, adhere to strict time limits, and contend with a lack of providers. From 2019 to 2021, 775 people made use of their right to travel freely between the United Kingdom and Ireland to head to Britain to access abortion services. In 2020, despite the pandemic, nearly 200 people still traveled across the Irish Sea to get abortion care in the UK. The Abortion Support Network (ASN), a charity that helps people in Europe access abortion through telemedicine or by supporting travel, says every three days they hear from someone in Ireland looking for help.
By Aleksandra Krzysztoszek | EURACTIV.pl
May 16, 2023
Ukrainian refugees are temporarily returning home to receive sexual and reproductive healthcare after finding their options limited in Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia, while others seek illegal solutions, according to a study published by the Centre for Reproductive Rights.
A study published on Tuesday, the work of nine international human rights organisations documents the alarming impact that restrictive national laws have on refugees seeking essential care and support.
By Leah Hoctor
September 22, 2022
Three months after the Supreme Court’s decision to eliminate the constitutional right to abortion in the United States shocked people across Europe, Republican lawmakers have astonished Europeans again with claims that 47 of 50 European countries ban abortion after 15 weeks.
This is simply untrue — as is the claim, made by Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) and other lawmakers, that by introducing a 15-week federal ban on most abortions, the United States would move into line with Europe.
Unlocked: https://wapo.st/3LAImPT (https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/09/22/europe-abortion-laws-vs-usa/)
Issued on: 14/06/2022
Rome (AFP) – For 40 years, gynaecologist Michele Mariano has been the only person performing abortions in Italy's conservative Molise region. He has delayed retiring twice because no one will replace him, many refusing to terminate pregnancies as conscientious objectors.
It's an extreme example, but emblematic of a wider issue in Italy, where abortion up to 90 days after conception has been legal since 1978 -- but many healthcare providers don't offer them.
As sexual violence on children and young women is increasingly reported, pregnant women, including rape survivors, struggle to access sexual healthcare under Poland’s strict abortion laws
by Mathilde Grandjean
April 20, 2022
Since the start of the war, over 4.6 million Ukrainian refugees – 90% of whom are women and children – have fled their homes to seek sanctuary in neighbouring countries. Poland has received the highest number of displaced Ukrainians, as nearly 3 million refugees have entered the country since February. Amongst them are rape survivors and pregnant refugees in urgent need of medical help, including access to emergency contraception and abortion.
However, Poland’s near-total ban on abortion added to a lack of key sexual and reproductive health medicines and products obstruct humanitarian efforts to provide medical assistance to rape survivors and refugees who wish to terminate an unwanted pregnancy.
‘It is imperative that European governments ensure that their humanitarian assistance prioritises the sexual and reproductive health and human rights of women and girls,’ says campaigner
Maya Oppenheim, Women’s Correspondent
Friday 18 March 2022
Abortions and contraception must be provided to women escaping Ukraine and their reproductive health must be safeguarded, campaigners on the ground have warned.
More than 60 organisations, including Amnesty International and local groups in the region, voiced “grave concern” over the situation unfolding for women in Ukraine but also displaced women forced to flee to Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, Moldova, and Romania.
Poland has virtually banned abortion, and the United States is also looking at tightening restrictions. But other countries, like Thailand and Benin, have started to loosen their restrictive measures. An overview.
Access to abortion has become easier over the decades, according to Leah Hoctor, the senior regional director for Europe at the Center for Reproductive Rights. She said that, with some exceptions, the global trend clearly points at liberalization. Several countries saw developments on the controversial issue over the last year.
Mexico: Penalizing abortion ruled unconstitutional
In September, the Supreme Court in Mexico, Latin America's second most populous country, declared an absolute ban on abortion unconstitutional. The right of women to reproductive self-determination is to be valued more highly than the protection of the fetus, the court said. With the ruling, the judges overturned an abortion ban in the northern Mexican state of Coahuila.
By Ivana Kottasová, CNN
Mon June 7, 2021
(CNN) Dr. Detlef Merchel didn't expect to end up in court for doing what he sees as part of his job: giving his patients information about the medical procedures he provides. But there he was, getting convicted for "advertising abortion" -- a crime in Germany.
He received a fine of €3,000 ($3,650) last month for sharing details about the type of abortion he offers, as well as the legal requirements for accessing it on his website.
By Michael Daventry
In October, Poland became the only European Union country to remove a right to legal abortion from its citizens.
The country’s top court ruled on October 22 that it was unconstitutional to abort a foetus if it had congenital defects.
Posted on 17th November 2020
by Basia Jankowiak
The 22nd of October was one of the worst days for Polish women in 2020. It was decided by Poland’s top court that the law allowing abortion of foetuses with congenital defects is unconstitutional. The decision was backed by the leading party in the Polish government – PiS along with far-right party Konfederacja. The majority of the court’s judges were nominated by PiS, signalling the political nature of the court’s decision.
The abortion law in Poland is one of the strictest in the whole of Europe. Before the 22nd of October, Polish women were able to have an abortion in cases of rape or incest, if the mother’s health was at risk, or if the foetus has congenital defects.