torsdag 27 september 2012

SRHR-gruppens brev till Polen

September 20 2012

Ewa Kopacz
Marshal of the Sejm of the Republic of Poland
Ul. Wiejska 4/6
PL – 00-902 Warsaw
Dear Marshall of the Sejm,
We the undersigned Members of the all party political group on sexual and reproductive health and rights representing seven of the Parliamentary parties from left to right in the Swedish Parliament are addressing you the esteemed Members of the Sejm for your consideration and deliberation on the “Act on Conscious Parenthood,” to be debated shortly in the Sejm. The Act aims to liberalize current regulations on abortion, making it legal until the 12th week of pregnancy, introduce free/subsidized contraception, and ensure the right to prenatal genetic tests and comprehensive sexuality education in schools.

The Act takes a comprehensive view on the issues of sexual and reproductive health and rights, demonstrating an understanding that women’s and men’s sexual and reproductive freedom can be protected fully only if all the following aspects are granted: sexuality education, access to contraceptives, abortion, and prenatal genetic examinations. For example, only if students have access to qualitative sexuality education and women and men have access to contraceptive services will abortion rates decrease, and only with access to prenatal genetic testing and high-quality gynecological care can women make informed decisions regarding their pregnancies.

The existing Polish law allows for termination of pregnancy only in cases of serious threats to women’s life and health, severe and irreversible fetal impairment, and when a pregnancy is the result of a crime. However, in practice, women are often unable to obtain even the abortions to which they are legally entitled. Pregnant women have been denied crucial health care services due to the fact that the current law on abortion is unclear and lacks monitoring mechanisms, and has no safeguards against widespread use of conscientious objection in the health care field.

The U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health notes that research confirms that Poland has one of the lowest rates of use of modern contraceptive methods in Europe — only 19 per cent compared with 81 per cent for Great Britain, 38.9 per cent for Italy and 29.5 per cent for Romania — and that this is most likely due to the many barriers Polish women face seeking to access contraceptives. In addition, current sexuality education focuses narrowly on marriage and family and touch only to a very limited extent on issues of sexuality and procreation, merely promoting abstinence and traditional methods of family planning.

Thus, a more sound and effective approach to women’s reproductive health in Poland would be to expand the grounds upon which abortion is allowed and monitor the practice to ensure practical access; expand access to the full range of affordable and acceptable modern contraceptives; and ensure mandatory comprehensive, evidence-based sexuality education in schools, as established by the Act. These measures would both be good public health policy and is essential to protecting women's and adolescents’ fundamental human rights.

Accordingly, we urge our esteemed colleagues of the Sejm to support the Act.

We thank you for your kind consideration of this letter.

Carina Hägg, Member of Parliament Social Democratic Party
Hans Linde, Member of Parliament, Left Party
Désirée Pethrus, Member of Parliament Christian Democratic Party
Annika Qarlsson, Member of Parliament Center Party
Barbro Westerholm, Member of Parliament Liberal Party
Ulrika Karlsson, Member of Parliament Moderate Party
Valter Mutt, Member of Parliament, Green Party