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Astra youth

ASTRA Youth in the latest issue of Entre Nous

The latest issue (n.80,2014) of Entre Nous, the WHO magazine for sexual and reproductive health, focuses on sexual and reproductive health and rights of adolescents across Europe. It features several articles devoted to young people's SRHR in CEE region: sexuality education in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, youth-friendly services in Moldova and youth reproductive health problems in Ukraine.

The issue includes also the article on European youth activism, with the article on ASTRA Youth work!

The magazine is available online here.



English Version of Report Covering 20 Years of Anti-Abortion Law in Poland

The English version of Federation for Women and Family Planning (Poland) report summarizing 20 years of Poland's strict anti-abortion law is now available. It covers legal aspects and analysis of implementation of the provisions on abortion access, availability of birth control and sexuality education as well as reproductive rights and relevant cases and processes happening in the framework of human rights.

The report is available here.

Global #showyourselfie campaign on International Youth Day

On 12 August, International Youth Day, UNFPA and Global Citizen launched #showyourselfie, a global campaign to urge world leaders to prioritize the needs and rights of young people in the post-2015 development agenda – the roadmap for the world’s development over the next 15 years. 

Between now and September 2015, UNFPA and Global Citizen will be asking those who believe young people should be a focus in the future of development to share their selfies with the campaign, using the hashtag #showyourselfie, via Twitter, Instagram or through the campaign’s website,

The campaign is a form of petition, and selfies are the signatures. They will be handed over to Member States at the UN General Assembly in September 2014 and 2015 as a massive display of public support for increased attention to and investment in the capabilities of young people, specifically in the areas of reproductive health, education, and training for work and life.

Join the campaign and share it in your networks!

Source: UNFPA

Movement against sexuality education in Poland proposes legislative initiative

The anti-choice movement, which is on a constant rise  in Poland, is currently acting against sexuality education in Poland. The Committee for Legislative Initiative ‘Stop Pedophilia’ aims to, according to its leaders, ‘protect children from depravation of so-called sex educators’.

The Committee convinces that Poland is threatened by gender ideology and depraving sexuality education provided with the use of WHO document ‘Standards of sexuality education in Europe’, which was published in Polish last year. The organizers of the campaign claim that the standards give only technical information on sex and contain instructions on teaching children how to masturbate, hence the Polish government shouldn’t support the model of sexuality education proposed in the WHO document. What’s more, the campaign attacks non-profit organizations providing sexuality education by accusing educators of sexualizing children and promoting pedophilia. The Committee also spreads homophobic messages relating to sexuality education, claiming that sex educators ‘promote homosexuality’ and tend to encourage children to try different kinds of sexuality orientations and relationships. Homosexuality is also treated on the same grounds as pedophilia – in some Polish cities there are banners of the campaign with information that LGBT people rape their children.

The legislative proposal prepared as part of  ‘Stop Pedophilia’ campaign would extend the article 200 of Polish Criminal Code (regarding the age of consent) with the two paragraphs: persons publicly promoting or approving activities of pedophilic nature would be punished with amercement, restriction of liberty or imprisonment. The same punishment would apply to persons who publicly popularize sexual activity of adolescents below the age of consent or enable them means to do so. According to leaders of the initiative, sexuality education proposed by WHO and provided by non-profit organizations is actually encouraging children to have sex. Polish NGOs working for comprehensive sexuality education are mentioned in the justification of  the initiative as the threat to children’s development.

The project collected 250 thousand signatures and it was proposed to Polish parliament as citizens legislative initiative. It’s predicted that the first reading of the project will take place in September. The campaign has been criticized in media by academics and activists as homophobic and distorting the real role of sexuality education.

Source: Gazeta Wyborcza daily

Abuse of Conscientious Objection in Poland: Short Summary of Doctor Chazan Case

In June 2014 Polish weekly "Wprost" revealed a shocking case of a woman, 22 weeks pregnant whose fetus was diagnosed with multiple, severe and irreversible malformations, was denied a legal abortion by professor Bogdan Chazan, director of the public Holy Family Hospital (Szpital Świętej Rodziny) in Warsaw. Moreover, prenatal testing and procedures were extended so as to prevent the woman from seeking an abortion elsewhere and she was not referred to another doctor despite the fact that the Polish law on conscientious objection demands that. 

The child which was born as a result of Chazan's decision died after 10 days. Prenatal diagnosis was fully confirmed and there was no chance of its survival.

On 3 July the Minister of Health informed that the National Health Fund (NFZ) imposed a penalty of 70 000 PLN ( ca. 23 000 USD) on the hospital due to the violation of patient's rights and failure to act according to current provisions. Later that month Warsaw Mayor Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz finally dismissed doctor Chazan from the position of director of the Holy Family Hospital in Warsaw. 

Doctor Chazan appealed with the labour court against his dismissal.Meanwhile 42%  of Polish gynaecologists support the removal of conscientious objection clauses from the law. Polish bishops have also openly expressed their support for his actions. 

In the aftermath of the Chazan scandal one district (poviat) in Mazovia Voivodship changed its provisions concerning a local hospital stating its work is fully based on the principle of protection of human life. Head of Mazovia Voivodship Jacek Kozłowski decided this newly amended provision ought to be nullified as it could lead to abuses in medical practice (interpreting the clause to protect fetal life over the life of women). Polish Ombudsperson Irena Lipowicz has recommended the Ministry of Health to amend provisions on conscientious objections so that its application by doctors would not stand in the way of women's rights. 

The woman who was the victim of doctor Chazan's decision demands 1 000 000 PLN compensation for personal damages caused by his abuse of conscientious objection.

Source: Federation for Women and Family Planning

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