International Safe Abortion Day: EHF publishes abortion status report

International Safe Abortion Day: EHF publishes abortion status report

Posted on the 28/09/18

Access to abortion in Europe appears to be a vested right. In reality, however, it is nothing of the kind. Attacks by anti- choice groups, both open and insidious, are increasing. Shaming of women remains the rule. Barriers to women’s sexual and reproductive autonomy are a manifestation of institutionalised sexism, and must be fought as features of injustice and inequality.

Beyond ideological barriers, the economic crisis and austerity politics have created new obstacles such as the closure of abortion clinics, increasing waiting times, and limited resources being dedicated to information campaigns.

Many women come under moral and psychological pressure and it is often suggested that having an abortion is irresponsible, even criminal. The Catholic Church’s discourse on the “culture of death” is now being taken up by the Orthodox Church which as well.

In Malta, Northern Ireland and Gibraltar, they risk prison sentences, respectively 4 years, 20 years and life imprisonment! In Poland, abortion is authorized only in the very limited cases of severe malformation of the fetus, rape and if the mother’s life or health is in danger. Abortion is also often instrumentalised and portrayed as one of the causes of demographic decline and natalist policies and rhetoric stigmatize women who have an abortion.

Even in countries where abortion has been de-penalised, countless administrative, financial and moral obstacles remain and many women face difficult struggles when they want to exercise their right. In certain countries conscientious objection renders an acquired right virtually useless as more than three quarters of doctors refuse performing an abortion. In countries where abortion is apparently less controversial, anti-choice groups still try to exert their influence by spreading disinformation. In France for example, anti-choice websites were found to mimic governmental information websites to confuse visitors and serve them false information.

This is why the European Humanist Federation joined up with its Belgian Member Organisation, the Centre d’Action Laïque and the AbortionRight platform to create a status report comparing legislation across the European Union as well as Iceland, Norway and Switzerland.

You can download the document both in English and in French.


Other latest news

EHF General Assembly 2020

After being postponed earlier in the year, and moving fully online, the EHF General Assembly finally took place November 7, 2020.  With the fully going...

EHF happy to see first-ever LGBTIQ strategy on equality by the European Commission

The European Humanist Federation is happy to see a first-ever strategy on LGBTIQ equality in the EU. As Humanist the right to exist and express ourselves...

Dutch Humanist Association calls for change in education law

Article 23 of the Dutch constitution calls for freedom of education, allowing those of different beliefs and religions to seek out schools that are ...

EHF at the OSCE calls for equal rights for all beliefs

Vice President Lone Ree Milkær made an intervention on behalf of EHF at the 3rd Supplementary Human Dimension Meeting at OSCE held online on the 9th...

Download the status report

in French

in English