Europe: NGOs Demand Access to Abortion in Pro-Life Countries
Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Pro-abortion organizations active in Europe targeted six European countries where abortion is illegal or tightly restricted in an open letter calling on them to change their laws which they claim “place women’s health and lives at risk” during the coronavirus pandemic. The countries— Andorra, Liechtenstein, Malta, Monaco, Poland and San Marino—have various laws and policies which protect children in the womb and their mothers from the violence of abortion. The 100 organizations, including the European Parliamentary Forum for Sexual & Reproductive Rights,  Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the Center for Reproductive Rights, International Planned Parenthood Federation – European Network, Ipas, and Women on Web, listed their abortion access demands in the letter European governments must ensure safe and timely access to abortion care during the COVID-19 pandemic as they use the pandemic as an ‘opportunity’ to pressure for changes to laws restricting abortion which they call “barriers” to “essential health care”. 

They claim that the removal of abortion restrictions are recommended by medical experts citing three WHO guidance documents— Safe abortion: Technical & policy guidance for health systems Legal and policy considerations; Health worker roles in providing safe abortion care and post-abortion contraception; and Expanding health worker roles for safe abortion in the first trimester of pregnancy, Summary.

They also declare that access to abortion is in “accordance with human rights obligations” citing the Issue Paper on Women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights in Europe by the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights.

The “urgent steps” recommended by the NGOs to be adopted and “at a minimum remain in place for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic” read like a pro-abortion ‘wish list’ to enable easy access to abortion and the overturning of modest regulations on abortion.  Demands to the pro-life countries include:

-treating abortion as ‘essential and time-sensitive health care’;

-making available free or low cost telehealth consultations for anyone who seeking abortion;

-guaranteeing access to early medical abortion in each jurisdiction,

-allowing doctors to prescribe the necessary medication via telehealth consultation;

-allowing individuals to take all abortion medication at home, removing requirement that one pill must be taken in the physical presence of a doctor or in a health care facility;

-removing mandatory waiting periods prior and mandatory in-person counseling requirements;

-guaranteeing abortion providers are located throughout the country;

-ensuring that refusals of care by doctors ‘do not jeopardize timely access to abortion’.

In conclusion of the letter, the pro-abortion organizations “call on all policy makers across the European region to reject proposals that purport to restrict access to safe abortion care during the COVID-19 pandemic. These disingenuous proposals simply serve to exacerbate the current public health crisis and have negative effects on the health, lives, and wellbeing of women and girls.”