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

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