Call to defend sexual and reproductive health and rights

Dear Ms Elżbieta Witek, Marshal of the Sejm of the Republic of Poland,
Dear Members of the Polish Parliament,
Dear Colleagues,

As Members of the European Parliament, we are writing to express our deep concern regarding the Parliamentary Document no 39 on amending the act of June 6, 1997 – the Penal Code – known as the “Stop paedophilia” bill – and Parliamentary Document No 36 on the amendment to the Act of 7 January 1993 on family planning, protection of the human fetus and conditions for the termination of pregnancy -known as “Stop Abortion” bill – that will be debated in a first reading in the Sejm of the Republic of Poland in your sitting of the 15-16 April 2020.

We are convinced that measures that roll back protections for women’s human rights and selfdetermination are of grave concern as they undermine a core European Union value, that of advancing gender equality. Under human rights law measures that undermine or restrict existing rights are not permitted and these draft bills violate Poland’s obligation to ensure ever greater protection of human rights.

We are deeply concerned that the “Stop Abortion” bill provide for the prohibition of termination of pregnancy due to severe or fatal foetal anomalies, currently a legal ground for abortion in Poland. Poland’s Act of 1993 on Family Planning, Protection of Human Fetus and the Conditions of Legal Pregnancy Termination is one of the most restrictive laws on abortion in the European Union. The bill would in effect result in a near total denial of access to legal abortion in Poland as most legal abortions are performed under this ground.

The adoption of the “Stop Abortion” bill would violate Poland’s international human rights obligations to protect women’s rights to privacy, health, and freedom from inhuman treatment. International human rights bodies have repeatedly affirmed that highly restrictive abortion laws
contravene human rights standards and must be reformed.

We would like to stress that unhindered and timely access to reproductive health services and respect for women’s reproductive autonomy and decision-making is critical to protecting women’s human rights and gender equality. It is essential to ensure the health, human dignity, physical and mental integrity, and reproductive autonomy of women and girls.

Furthermore, we want to express our concern regarding the “Stop paedophilia” bill which would in effect prohibit sexuality education, criminalise teachers, health care workers and other educational professionals, and promote stigma, harmful stereotypes and homophobia. The bill would contravene Poland’s international human rights obligations and we reiterate our call to guarantee the rights to receive comprehensive sexuality education and information as well as access sexual and reproductive health care for young people in Poland in line with the European Parliament resolution of 14 November 2019.

We are convinced that young people must be empowered and protected through age-appropriate information about sex and sexuality and access to sexual and reproductive healthcare. By restricting the access to such information, the proposed bill puts at risk the health and wellbeing of young people making them more vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. Educators, doctors and carers must be supported, protected and encouraged to be able to provide this essential information. We recall that Poland has a duty under international human rights law to provide mandatory, age-appropriate, standardised, evidence-based and scientifically accurate comprehensive sexuality education.

We respectfully urge Members of the Polish Parliament to reject these two initiatives and to refrain from any further attempts to restrict women’s and adolescents’ sexual and reproductive health and rights in Poland.

Yours sincerely,
All of Us Coordinators:
Malin BJÖRK, Member of the European Parliament
Maria NOICHL, Member of the European Parliament
Terry REINTKE, Member of the European Parliament
Eugenia RODRÍGUEZ PALOP, Member of the European Parliament
Irène TOLLERET, Member of the European Parliament
Ernest URTASUN, Member of the European Parliament
Alviina ALAMETSÄ, Member of the European Parliament
Abir AL-SAHLANI, Member of the European Parliament
Rasmus ANDRESEN, Member of the European Parliament
Marc ANGEL, Member of the European Parliament
Konstantinos ARVANITIS, Member of the European Parliament
Manon AUBRY, Member of the European Parliament
Margrete AUKEN, Member of the European Parliament
Pernando BARRENA ARZA, Member of the European Parliament
Pietro BARTOLO, Member of the European Parliament
Robert BIEDROŃ, Member of the European Parliament
Izaskun BILBAO BARANDICA, Member of the European Parliament
Viija BLINKEVIČIŪTĖ, Member of the European Parliament
Manuel BOMPARD, Member of the European Parliament
Patrick BREYER, Member of the European Parliament
Saskia BRICMONT, Member of the European Parliament
Delara BURKHARDT, Member of the European Parliament
Damien CARÊME, Member of the European Parliament
Leila CHAIBI , Member of the European Parliament
David CORMAND, Member of the European Parliament
Clare DALY, Member of the European Parliament
Johan DANIELSSON, Member of the European Parliament
Petra DE SUTTER, Member of the European Parliament
Gwendoline DELBOS-CORFIELD, Member of the European Parliament
Özlem DEMIREL, Member of the European Parliament
Klára DOBREV, Member of the European Parliament
Tanja FAJON, Member of the European Parliament
Heléne FRITZON, Member of the European Parliament
Iratxe GARCÍA PÉREZ, Member of the European Parliament
Markéta GREGOROVÁ, Member of the European Parliament
Francisco GUERREIRO, Member of the European Parliament
Sylvie GUILLAUME, Member of the European Parliament
José GUSMÃO, Member of the European Parliament
Jytte GUTELAND, Member of the European Parliament
Heidi HAUTALA, Member of the European Parliament
Pierrette HERZBERGER-FOFANA
Sophia in ‚t VELD, Member of the European Parliament
Evin INCIR, Member of the European Parliament
Marina KALJURAND, Member of the European Parliament
Karin KARLSBRO, Member of the European Parliament
Petros KOKKALIS, Member of the European Parliament
Marcel KOLAJA, Member of the European Parliament
Dietmar KÖSTER, Member of the European Parliament
Alice KUHNKE, Member of the European Parliament
Sergey LAGODINSKY, Member of the European Parliament
Maria Manuel LEITÃO MARQUES, Member of the European Parliament
Juan FernandoLÓPEZ AGUILAR, Member of the European Parliament
Erik MARQUARDT, Member of the European Parliament
Marisa MATIAS, Member of the European Parliament
Predrag Fred MATIĆ, Member of the European Parliament
Radka MAXOVÁ, Member of the European Parliament
Karen MELCHIOR, Member of the European Parliament
Tilly METZ, Member of the European Parliament
Alessandra MORETTI, Member of the European Parliament
Hannah NEUMANN, Member of the European Parliament
Ville NIINISTÖ, Member of the European Parliament
Mikuláš PEKSA, Member of the European Parliament
Anne-Sophie PELLETIER, Member of the European Parliament
Sandra PEREIRA, Member of the European Parliament
Kira PETER-HANSEN, Member of the European Parliament
Pina PICIERNO, Member of the European Parliament
Manu PINEDA, Member of the European Parliament
Manu PINEDA, Member of the European Parliament
Kati PIRI, Member of the European Parliament
Samira RAFAELA, Member of the European Parliament
Evelyn REGNER, Member of the European Parliament
Sira REGO, Member of the European Parliament
Michèle RIVASI, Member of the European Parliament
María Soraya RODRÍGUEZ RAMOS, Member of the European Parliament
Isabel SANTOS, Member of the European Parliament
Helmut SCHOLZ, Member of the European Parliament
Birgit SIPPEL, Member of the European Parliament
Sylwia SPUREK, Member of the European Parliament
Tineke STRIK, Member of the European Parliament
Vera TAX, Member of the European Parliament
Marie TOUSSAINT, Member of the European Parliament
Miguel URBÁN CRESPO, Member of the European Parliament
Monika VANA, Member of the European Parliament
Hilde VAUTMANS, Member of the European Parliament
Guy VERHOFSTADT, Member of the European Parliament
Bettina VOLLATH, Member of the European Parliament
Mick WALLACE, Member of the European Parliament
Elena YONCHEVA, Member of the European Parliament
Chrysoula ZACHAROPOULOU, Member of the European Parliament

Verwandte Artikel