Abortion; influencing politics

M.M. Lech

Fertility and Sterility Research Center, Warsaw, Poland

Abortion is a response to unwanted pregnancy, and is a consequence of poor sexual education and poor (or unavailable) family planning services. As it is well known, yearly number of abortion all over the world, approach the number of 50 million. 40% of them are illegal and unsafe. Everyday more than 200 women die due to unsafe/illegal abortions. Legalisations of abortions make these procedures safes, save women’s lives and diminish indicators of maternal mortality. Restrictive abortion laws means; illegal abortions, creation of abortion-underground, high number of unsafe abortions, woman’s mortality and morbidity, criminalization of the society, and even infanticide.

Abortion law is the most influent factor of availability and accessibility of abortions in Europe. Abortion laws in Europe vary from the complete prohibition, in Malta, and availability of abortion only in case of endangered (by pregnancy) life of the women, in Ireland and Poland, to ‘‘abortion on request’’ in most of the European countries.

In reality, restrictive abortion law in the certain country does not mean ‘‘abortion-free-country’’. For example, official data on number of abortions in Poland is less than 200 per year (means 0.022 per thousand women in the age of 15–49), but in reality, estimated numbers of abortion exceed 50 thousand abortions per year. Restrictive abortion law in Poland means also ‘‘safe abortion services availability for well-off women only’’. The fight for the contemporary and democratic abortion law (similar to abortion laws in most of the European countries) is one of the very hot points of politics in Poland. Some of groups of society, woman’s right lobby, NGO’s and some of the health professionals are trying to influence politics by; raising awareness, monitoring and initiating activities concerning reproductive health/rights and women’s rights in the community, initiating media campaigns (through reports, press conferences, fact sheets, press releases, NGO’s bulletins, open letters etc) on legalization of abortion and introducing sex education at schools, advocating for implementation of the commitments made by the Government during the international conferences (Cairo Conference on Population and Development, Beijing Fourth World Conference on Women), formation of various national and international networks and coalitions (including the Polish Committee of NGO’s- Beijing ’95), promoting international standards concerning human rights in the area of women’s reproductive health and rights.