Nyomtatás

New restrictions on abortion

Hungary, Poland and Russia pose new restrictions on abortion. WAVE is deeply concerned
about the alarming trend of constraining women’s right to self-determination.

In the time of the Soviet Union, abortions in Hungary, Poland and Russia were legal. Following its
collapse and increasing pressure from religious groups and conservatives, women’s rights including the
right to health have become restricted to the point that now Poland, even after its 2004 accession to the
EU, has one of the strictest abortion laws in Europe. The Hungarian government is forming a path for
legal restrictions on abortions with the new Constitution that will come into force in 2012. Russia is
taking on the issue of women’s rights with its campaign to increase the number of births and an
introduction of legal amendments to restrict abortion. The European Network of Women’s NGOs (WAVE)
takes a clear stand against these developments and calls upon political leaders to stop cutting women’s
right to self-determination.

What the three countries have in common is not only a fundamentalist stance against women’s rights,
especially in comparison to its European counterparts, the countries are also attempting to undo
decades of women’s struggle to be recognized as individuals with dignity and rights to privacy and
health, among other inalienable human rights. The recent events taking place in the three countries are
alarming. Although Polish abortion law is severely strict, a new draft law was introduced in July 2011 that
would have placed a ban on all abortions. The draft law was struck down by a narrow margin of 5 votes.
In Hungary, a new Constitution states that life begins at conception, which will likely result in a challenge
of current abortion law that allows non-medical abortions up to 12 weeks of pregnancy and the legality
of certain contraception methods will be questioned. In June 2011, Russian politicians introduced
amendments to the abortion law that would place restrictions on the procedure. The amendments
would mandate the following: a waiting period, signing of an agreement to acknowledge the potential
negative results, viewing of the fetus on ultrasound and hearing its heartbeat. Lastly, access to the
morning-after pill would be restricted.

Prohibition of abortion does not contribute to a reduction in abortions or an increase in births. The most
common result is the increase in illegal abortions that may seriously harm women seeking them,
including resulting in the woman’s death. Analysis conducted by the independent UK journal RHM
(Reproductive Health Matters), shows that criminalization of abortion in Poland has only led to the
development of a vast underground private sector. It is well known that underground abortions in
Poland generate an estimated 95 million USD per year and an estimated 80,000 – 200,000 Polish women
receive illegal abortions in Poland, while others travel abroad. In addition, restricting abortion with only
certain exceptions leaves women at the mercy of doctors, who are granted the authority to decide
whether a specific case meets the conditions for allowing abortion. Not only does this open the door for
political or religious activism on the part of doctors, but also violates a woman’s right to make decisions
regarding her own health and her own future. Such infringement on a woman’s rights has no place in any
society, especially in modern and open societies of Europe. The ECHR has already ruled that in two cases,
Poland violated a woman’s right by restricting her access to abortion.

The bottom line is that legal restrictions on abortions do not limit the number of abortions actually
performed. Legal restrictions undoubtedly violate a woman’s right to health and deny her an individual
decision that is already a difficult decision to make and should be done so privately, without fear of
punishment. Poland should take immediate steps to repeal its restrictive laws, while the governments of
Hungary and Russia should learn from the Polish situation and stop their efforts to criminalize abortions.
Governments should support their women in their reproductive roles and instead create human rights
based policies to meet their objectives. In the meantime, the policies created in the name of protecting
life are ineffective and cause great suffering to women. Based on this, the current laws are nothing more
than devices designed to disempower women and enlarge the already wide gender equality gap.

For further information, please contact:
WAVE European Information Center Against Violence | +43 (0) 1 548 2720 | Ez az e-mail cím a spamrobotok elleni védelem alatt áll. Megtekintéséhez engedélyeznie kell a JavaScript használatát.

forrás: WAVE