image image Follow Us:

Astra youth

International Day International Day of Action for the Decriminalization of Abortion

On September 28th, on the International Day for Decriminalization of Abortion, SWV organized a public film viewing, in its office in Yerevan, of the movie “Citizen Ruth”, which tells the story of pregnant woman who unexpectedly attracts attention from those involved in the debate about the morality and legality of abortion. The film attacks the abortion debate as in itself being an unnecessary infringement on the bodily integrity of women.

After the screening of the movie, the attendants held a discussion about the status of abortion in Armenia, the problem of sex-selective abortion and how to tackle it without infringing the rights of women, and the abortion debate in general.

Source: SWV

Capacity Building Training on Anti-discrimination and SOGI issues

Society Without Violence NGO (SWV), within the context of “Solidarity Network for LGBTI in Armenia and Georgia” project, conducted a successful 3 day capacity building training for CSOs to improve their knowledge about sexuality, SOGI, and anti-discrimination, The theme of Sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR) was also thoroughly discussed; how LGBTI people face discrimination while trying to access health services for SRHR, how LGBTI people living with HIV face double discrimination, etc., and equip them with new skills for effective advocacy, meet like-minded colleagues, build networks and acquire skills on including LGBTI issues in the organization’s agenda. The training took place on September 22-24, with a small group of 7 participants from CSOs from different regions. A second similar training will take place in October.

The end of training survey and the discussion that followed proved the vast improvement in the knowledge of the participants about the issues and problems faced by LGBTI people. There was also a positive change in the attitudes of the participants towards sexuality and LGBTI people.

Source: SWV

Poland to consider a total ban of abortion

Two bills on abortion, both submitted through citizen's petitions, were debated in the Sejm, the Polish parliament, yesterday afternoon and evening. Today, a vote was taken on both of them. The first, entitled the "Stop Abortion" bill, introduced a total ban on all abortions without exceptions and would criminalise women who have an abortion with sentences of up to five years. with no exception. Additionally it proposes criminalization of women who committed abortion illegally up to five years. The bill would stop antenatal screening and sexuality education. It equates women’s right to health with the rights of embryos. Polish women will be forced to give birth even if they are victims of rape, have a serious fetal abnormality and even when their health and lives are at risk. Today, it was passed at first reading and was sent for further consideration to a parliamentary commission, following support from 267 MPs. 154 MPs voted against and 11 abstained.

The second bill, entitled "Save the Women" proposed to liberalise the current, already highly restrictive, law on abortion. It would permit abortion until the 12th week of pregnancy. Additionally, it called for sexuality education, broad access to modern contraception reimbursed by the state, antenatal screening and other elements of reproductive health care. It was defeated by a majority vote on the first reading by 230 MPs, while 173 MPs voted to send the bill to a commission, and 15 abstained.

Last week there was a major national demonstration against the Stop Abortion bill, in which thousands participated. For further background, read this.

In the days leading up to the vote, on social media people in Poland sent photos of themselves dressed in black, as a statement of protest. See a sample of photos here.

Krystyna Kacpura, Executive Director, Polish Federation for Women and Family Planning, said today: "The discussion in Parliament regarding these bills was outrageous. Certain members of Parliament claimed that Poland will be the beginning of a new pro-life civilization. They expect that other countries will follow. Women’s rights have been completely rejected and held in contempt by them."

Additionally, the Sejm also sent to further proceedings draft legislation practically eliminating in vitro procedure.

The text was edited with the help of International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion

New factsheet on abortion in Europe

Recent developments in Europe, in particular in Poland, have put the reproductive rights of women and girls under severe pressure. Together with partners - ASTRA Youth, You Act and CHOICE for Youth and Sexuality, we have developed this factsheet that aims to raise awareness about women’s and girl’s rights to safe and legal abortion and to encourage the reader to engage in ongoing discussions about reproductive rights.

Click here to access the factsheet

Abortion once again subject to political debate in Poland

On September 22nd the Polish Parliament will vote on 2 draft bills regarding abortion.

The “Stop Abortion” bill proposes to ban abortion in all cases, aiming to punish women and medical personnel for illegal procedures. Prepared by groups which deny women their basic right to health and wellbeing, this bill will have severe consequences, if put into force.

The „Save the Women” initiative proposes to change the law on abortion in Poland, which is one of the most restrictive in Europe for the past 25 years, by introducing not only access to safe and legal abortion until the 12th week of pregnancy but also a complete package of sexual and reproductive health services, such as comprehensive sexuality education.

On Sunday, September 18th people gathered under the slogan “Save women, not a step further” in front of the Polish Sejm in Warsaw. Smaller protests in other cities in Poland. The changes proposed by anti-choice groups would risk the lives of women and force girls as young as 11 who had been raped or subjected to incest either to give birth or face going to jail.

Krystyna Kacpura, director of the Federation of Women and Family Planning, said many Polish women were already in effect denied access to legal abortions despite a 1993 law that was supposed to allow terminations in cases of rape or incest, where the foetus is severely damaged or ill, or where the mother’s life is at risk.

See the media releases in English here:

Amnesty InternationalThe Guardianarticle by ED of the Federation for Women and Family PlanningNewsDeeply

See photos from Warsaw protest here.

Page 3 of 68