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Astra youth

Survey on attitude towards abortion in Lithuania

In order to find out, what attitude towards abortion prevails in Lithuania, ASTRA Youth member organization, Family Planning and Sexual Health Association (FPSHA) carried out the anonymous online survey. 533 answers were collected. 71,9% of all respondents were young women (15-25 year olds), 21,6% were young adult women (26-35 year olds). 12,38% of all women who participated in the survey had an abortion, half of them (32 out of 66) were between 15 to 25 years old.

Respondents reported, that the biggest fear while choosing if to terminate pregnancy, is to experience the negative reaction from society. This can explain, why almost one third of women who had an abortion (23 out of 66) kept information about it in secret. Women, who terminated a pregnancy informed that they didn’t have comprehensive sexuality education at school and weren’t able to afford contraception because of its high price; they also lacked psychological support from their families and medical staff. They also reported that they didn’t have information where they can have abortion procedure, whether it is reimbursed or not.

The results of the survey also showed  that 73% of respondents had positive attitude towards the existence of an opportunity to have abortion, while 15,8% respondents expressed negative approach. The rest of respondents answered that their attitude ‘depends on situation’, ‘is neutral’ or is positive ‘only when we are talking about medical conditions, raped girl or families with low-income’. There were few answers that stated ‘I am in favour only on medical abortion or abortion till the 5th week’.  49,5 % of respondents stated that they support women who had the abortion, whereas 15,2% demonstrated negative opinion about such women. The rest of the respondents reported that they had neutral position, because they didn’t face the problem of unexpected pregnancy by themselves. There were only few respondents who answered: ‘I support such women, because abortion is a human right’. Also, 90,2 % of respondents believed that women who had an abortion experienced stigmatization. 80,7% of respondents agreed with the statement that stigmatization of abortion in society must be reduced. What’s important, 46,1% of respondents believed that the number of abortions could be reduced by improving  the access to contraception, and 44,7% respondents argued that comprehensive sexuality education has to be introduced to decrease abortion numbers.

Source: FPSHA

Annual meeting of HERA Youth 2016

In the end of March HERA Youth, the volunteer sector of HERA had their annual meeting, where they have revised the official documents of the youth group and developed a new action plan for 2016.

HERA Youth has also decided to restructure from 3 sectors to 2 sectors. During the meeting, HERA Youth has also formed two groups for application on the Vision 2020 fund and activities which will be conducted on 18 May 2016 and this year’s topic is comprehensive sexual education. The process for application was closed on 3th of April and it awaits decision on which group of HERA Youth is going to implement their project on the Vision 2020 fund. The group currently consists of 70 volunteers. HERA Youth is one of the most important sectors in HERA and the moving young force.

Source: HERA

Training of CSE peer educators in Macedonia

In February – March a big process of accreditation was implemented for peer educators in the field of Comprehensive sexual education by HERA Macedonia. A call was launched for interested young people and it was promoted on the social media. 21 people have applied and 17 were accepted. They have passed 2 days theoretical and interactive training in Skopje for all 7 components of the CSE. After this, they had 2 weeks of time for studying and consultation with the more experienced educators, the coordinator of the youth program and the program director of HERA. Afterwards, the examination process was organized for 3 days and the second part of this training has also covered workshops on communication and risk assessment. 14 new educators have been accredited after this process and already 2 of them are implementing the workshops in high schools in Skopje, where HERA has the pilot program for CSE peer education.

Source: HERA

Launch of the report analysis for the optional school subject Health Education - Sexuality Education component

Early April, Society for Reproductive and Sexual Education (SECS) member  of Astra Youth, in partnership with the Coalition for Gender Equality and Romania  and the Youth Council in Romania, organized the round table  where the outcomes of the analysis of the optional Health Education subject were discussed.

Besides the presentation of the report, diverse institution’s representatives discussed their views: the Presidential Administration, the Ministry of National Education and Scientific Research, Romania Youth Council, Youth and Sports Ministry, as well as representatives of World Health Organization and NGOs.

Teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections and gender-based violence are current realities in the Romanian society. International and national legislation recognizes the need for sexuality education in schools. But the report points out that sexuality education module included in the optional subject Education for Health isn’t a comprehensive sexuality education program. Shortcomings are evident in the subject’s content, teachers’ training, as well as monitoring and evaluation of the subject. Very few students participated in health education classes (6% in 2014-2015, according to the Ministry of Education), and even smaller number had access to sexuality education.

Other survey findings underline that combating gender violence isn’t included in the classes’ objectives and children don't learn prevention of sexual abuse and violence. During the classes extended family and traditional gender roles are described on the basis of gender stereotypes. Moreover, the information on disclosing HIV status or impact of stigmatization of HIV positive persons is not included in the content of lessons.

Teachers don’t recognize the diversity of individuals, beliefs, attitudes, behaviors, norms and values of society. Preparation to teach sexuality education isn’t a part of the training of all teachers and the quality of teaching sexuality education isn’t taken into account.

The report is available in Romanian on SECS’s website here.

Source: Coalitiei pentru Egalitate de Gen

 

The ODZYSKAĆ WYBÓR – REGAINING THE CHOICE demonstration in Warsaw

Warsaw, April 9th 2016, Saturday, 02:00 p.m. 

Venue: the Polish Parliament (Sejm) building

We take to the streets because we refuse to accept anyone else but ourselves making decisions concerning our bodies and our lives.

We have been told for far too long that the current legislative solution is a “compromise”.

Let us show that we refuse to accept a barbaric law making us hostage to our own pregnancies.

The current anti-abortion law did not serve to reduce the number of abortions performed in Poland. It is estimated that against 1993, an unchanged number of terminations is performed in the abortion underworld – some say that the number of undocumented abortions has doubled. Polish women undergo approximately 200,000 illegal terminations per year. The so-called abortion tourism flourishes – 15% of all terminations are performed abroad. In the United Kingdom, for example, the share of Polish women among foreigners terminating pregnancies has reached 80%.

Although according to Polish law, Polish women can undergo legal termination in three cases, the reality is hugely difficult if not impossible, largely due to the conformism of the medical community, frequent abuse of the “clause of conscience”, persecution of women intending to terminate, and poor legislative knowledge in the society.

The restrictive anti-abortion law did not bring any reduction in the number of terminations; all it did was ensure that abortions are performed in dangerous and humiliating conditions, in an atmosphere of anxiety, shame, and contempt.

Pregnancy termination is no longer a simple medical procedure. It became a political matter, a bargaining chip in politics.

Prior to system transformation, Polish women could legally terminate pregnancies in safe conditions with no threat to health or life. They could make independent decisions concerning their own bodies, including the very important decision as to whether they wish to become mothers or not. In 1993, this right was taken away from them, the amended law referred to as a “compromise”. The thriving abortion underworld and abortion tourism both prove that such “abortion compromise” is complete rubbish. Women continue terminating pregnancies – albeit under great anxiety and intimidation, their health and life threatened. Even if entitled to legal abortion, they have to undergo a series of humiliating procedures, and remain hanging on someone else’s decision. Yet here we are, facing times when women can be deprived of their rights – such as they are – altogether. Over the upcoming months, politicians of both genders and priests will act in our stead, voting on a cruel and barbaric draft act filed with our Parliament by fanatics ready to sacrifice female freedom and life in the name of ideology.

ODZYSKAĆ WYBÓR (REGAINING THE CHOICE) is a coalition of feminist and other non-governmental organisations, informal groups and individuals, struggling to regain the abortion choice right we were deprived of 23 years ago.

NOTE: The demonstration is organised by grassroot communities, non-affiliated with any political parties or commercial entities.

REGAINING THE CHOICE demonstrations will also take place in other cities in Poland and in many locations around the world, for a full list of events clickHERE.

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