Support campaign & open letter for the EU abortion rights

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The European Women’s Lobby, together with its member organisations from Belgium (Belgium coordination of the EWL), Cyprus (Cyprus Women’s Lobby), Poland (Polish Women’s Lobby) and Ireland (National Women’s Council of Ireland) actively supports a Belgian campaign aiming at promoting the right to abort for all women in Europe.

The initiators of this campaign are a platform of civil society organizations from Belgium, Cyprus, Ireland and Poland, which joined forces to lead a campaign on the right to abort for all women in Europe and celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Belgian law decriminalizing abortion.

Read the flyer presenting the campaign ( front   / back ), which has been disseminated in Brussels and Wallonie in March 2010.  The platform has delivered an open letter and is calling on national and European organisations and politicians to support it by signing it by 30 March. The open letter with all its signatories will then be sent to the European states which do not recognise the right for women to abort and to the European Union.  Please read it below (in French and English).

Please send the name of your organisation or your name as national or European politician to the following email address to be part of the supporters of the open letter:, by March 30.

Join the 1 April March for the right to abort in Europe!  They meet at 10am in Brussels, 29 rue des Gaulois (Metro Mérode)

The 1 April March aims at passing through the embassies of the four European countries that do not recognise the right for women to abort.  Join to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Belgian law decriminalising abortion and to call for a Europe granting all women the right to abort as a fundamental right.  You will find below a flyer with more information on the March.

More information on all the activities of the campaign here.


Open letter addressed to European states which do not recognize the right for women to abort and to the European Union

On 3 April 1990, Belgium amended its abortion law, allowing at long last every woman residing on its territory to have a termination of pregnancy performed legally. This new law, whose twentieth anniversary is being celebrated this year, addressed a very serious problem of public health and social inequality.

We, the signatories of this letter, are deeply concerned by the fact that in certain European countries, namely, Cyprus, Ireland, Malta and Poland, the right to abort is not acknowledged; this worsens the distress of women living there who have decided to have their pregnancy terminated.

When utterly distraught women are compelled to choose between the continuation or the termination of their pregnancy, and the latter appears to be the only way out, most of them will resort to abortion even if the law forbids it and in spite of the risks for their health, or even their life, clandestine abortion entails.

Prohibiting abortion does not prevent women from aborting but has for them consequences that are often catastrophic. Moreover, such an interdict creates an inequality with regard to the right to health as the access to an abortion carried out in good conditions is easier for women who are able to pay for it.

We cannot disregard the fact that worldwide eighty thousand women die yearly as a result of clandestine abortion, which corresponds with one woman every six minutes! This situation is all the more intolerable since maintaining voluntary termination of pregnancy outside the law hardly reduces the number of abortions. Its decriminalisation and the free, easy and informed access to abortion carried out in good circumstances are essential requirements with regard to the respect of fundamental rights: that of women to own and control their body as well as the right to health and health care that each nation must ensure to all women, without distinction.

It is unacceptable that in 2010 the aforementioned rights should still not be established in the European Union, which was built on the values of the basic human rights. Article 36 of the Resolution on the equality between women and men voted in plenary session by the European Parliament in February of this year underlines this unambiguously. This is why we lay great stress on the need for

      -  the governments of Cyprus, Ireland, Malta and Poland to amend their law and to inform women and men living on their territory about the change;

      -   all EU authorities to take measures falling within their competence to ensure that all women living in Europe may equally enjoy their sexual and reproductive rights.

Let us join forces and build together a social and emancipatory Europe!


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