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.
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.
The idea that abortion is always a clear choice is far too simplistic and minimises the experiences of lots of those seeking abortion care
July 5, 2020
A conversation on how we think about abortion access and how inclusive our services are is long over due. For far too long, the abortion movement has championed access for all those that require abortion care but with little acknowledgement of the wider structures that govern our reproductive health.
While it is estimated that a quarter of all pregnancies end in abortion – the idea that abortion is always a clear choice is far too simplistic and minimises the experiences of lots of those seeking abortion care. Recent Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) data revealed that black women are more likely to report a consecutive abortion compared to their white and Asian counterparts.
Charities report rise in Maltese requests for abortion pills during lockdown
Women in Malta, where abortion is banned, have been unable to travel abroad for terminations
Published on Fri 19 Jun 2020
Women in Malta seeking an abortion during the pandemic are being forced to procure their own miscarriage or keep an unwanted pregnancy, even when the child has a severe abnormality.
Overseas charities have reported large increases in requests for abortion pills from women in Malta during the pandemic. Women On Web, an online community based in the Netherlands, received 45 pill requests in March and 47 in April, up from 18 in February, with three women who requested abortion pills saying they had been raped by their partner during lockdown.
'Like Ireland on steroids': Malta's abortion taboo leaves women in despair
Border closures have trapped women seeking safe terminations and exposed the plight of those who cannot afford to travel
Megan Clement and Bertrand Borg in Valetta
Thu 11 Jun 2020
The nurse who told Marija she was still pregnant thought she was giving her patient good news. She chided Marija, who was seven weeks along, for not starting her vitamins sooner and sent her home.
But Marija (not her real name) was devastated. Six days earlier, she had tried to terminate the pregnancy with abortion pills she ordered online. But she had experienced terrible morning sickness throughout her pregnancy, and had thrown up after taking the first of the two pills. She was worried the medication had not had time to work before she vomited. After taking the second pill and bleeding for a few days, she went to the hospital to find out if she had miscarried.
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.
Spike in Maltese women seeking abortion help amid flight ban - UK charity
Maltese women are calling the UK for advice on terminating pregnancies
April 1, 2020
A UK-based charity offering support to those living in countries with restrictive abortion laws has seen an increase in calls from Maltese women unable to travel to have an abortion.
Last week Abortion Support Network received eight calls from Malta – the same number it usually deals with in one month, founder Mara Klein Clarke said.
Most of the women who called were seeking advice on how to terminate their pregnancies with the travel ban meaning they can not fly to the UK, Klein Clarke told Times of Malta.