ASTRA Central and Eastern European Women’s Network for Sexual and Reproductive Rights and Health

Jun 26 2018

Alarming pushbacks have been progressing across regions of the globe”, through what the Working Group on Discrimination against Women in Law and in Practice described as “alliance of conservative political ideologies and religious fundamentalisms,” in its report to the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

“Practices such as polygamy, child marriage, female genital mutilation, so-called honour killings, and criminalizing women for sexual and reproductive behavior, have no place in any society,” said a statement from the working group, adding that “there is no acceptable justification for waiting for the elimination of discrimination against women.”

Citing “rising authoritarianism, economic crises and rocketing inequality”, the Working Group warned that hard-fought gains risk being reversed.

The expert panel also noted positive changes, including the recent Irish referendum to repeal a near-total constitutional ban on abortion.

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Jun 21 2018

The global women’s movement has fought for many years to affirm safe and legal abortion as a fundamental right, and the global trend has been the liberalization of abortion laws. Progress is not linear, however, and persistent barriers prevent these laws and policies from increasing women’s access to services. One such obstacle is the growing use of conscience claims to justify refusal of abortion care.

Often called “conscientious objection,” a concept historically associated with the right to refuse to take part in the military or in warfare on religious or moral grounds, the term has recently been co-opted by anti-choice movements. Indeed, accommodations for health care providers to refuse to provide care are often deliberately inserted into policies with the aim of negating the hard-fought right to abortion care.Existing evidence reveals a worrisome and growing global trend of health care providers who are refusing to deliver abortion and other sexual and reproductive health care. This phenomenon violates the ethical principle of “do no harm,” and has grave consequences for women, especially those who are already more vulnerable and marginalized.

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Jun 06 2018

New factsheet by Center for Reproductive Rights

In many European countries where abortion is legal, domestic laws and regulations allow medical professionals to refuse to provide abortion care or other forms of reproductive health care on grounds of conscience or religion. However, evidence indicates that in some of these countries the failure of state authorities to effectively and proactively regulate and monitor such refusals and enforce safeguards undermines women’s ability to obtain timely, safe, and legal abortion care.

International human rights law and standards require states to ensure that medical professionals’ refusals of care do not jeopardize women’s access to legal reproductive health care. As a result, where European governments fail to ensure that medical professionals’ refusals of care do not impede women’s access to legal reproductive health care, they contravene international human rights law and standards.

This publication clarifies and summarizes these obligations and presents an overview of European human rights jurisprudence related to medical professionals’ refusals to provide abortion care and other forms of reproductive health care on grounds of conscience or religion. 

Access the factsheet here

Jun 04 2018

Ireland voted decisively to repeal one of the world’s more restrictive abortion bans, sweeping aside generations of conservative patriarchy and the vast influence of the Roman Catholic Church.

The long awaited results, reflected in the numbers announced on Saturday, May 26th, cemented the nation’s liberal shift at a time when right-wing populism is on the rise in Europe and the Trump administration is imposing curbs on abortion rights in the United States. In the past three years alone, Ireland has installed a gay man as prime minister and has voted in another referendum to allow same-sex marriage.

The “yes” camp of the #Repealthe8th referendum took more than 66 percent of the vote, according to the official tally, and turnout was about 64 percent. This was preceded by years of advocacy on national, regional and international level by Irish women’s groups, human rights activists and international organisations.

Minister for Health Simon Harris said that he would introduce legislation allowing for abortion on request up to the 12th week of pregnancy, and thereafter in specific circumstances and seek to have it passed by the end of the year.

The positive result of the referendum and repealing of the 8th amendment to the Irish constitution will have vast consequences for the entire Europe and women across the globe.

Additional read

Exit polls point to landslide vote to relax Irish abortion laws

Ireland’s Yes vote ushers in a new era for women’s rights in Europe

After Ireland’s abortion vote, where does the Catholic church go now?

How Savita Halappanavar’s Death Spurred Ireland’s Abortion Rights Campaign

May 29 2018

Group of feminists and pro-choice activists, the Platform for Reproductive Rights, on the eve of the so-called March for Life held on Saturday, May 20th which year after year further silences women’s voices staged a night-time street action which inscribed women’s experiences into the city of Zagreb (housing blocks, churches and hospitals) with the aim of speaking out about issues faced by women who seek abortion.

In a symbolic night-time action women’s stories and experiences became an extension of all the silenced voices of anonymous women. Invisible experiences are written on the body of the city – we live among you, and so do our experiences. Projected into the public space of the city, these experiences became the voice of the people and women's stories became – both our stories and your stories.

See photos from the action on Facebook

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