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The Right to Abortion in Germany, Poland and Russia | Discussion

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HERstory - making women in history and society visible


Gender studies Political science


Women's rights


Women’s rights are shrinking globally. The 24th June 2022 is an important date which marks different developments: In the USA that day, the Supreme Court decided to ban the general right to abortion, now each state decides individually if it allows abortion or not. Now, 40 million women* live in states where abortion is already banned, they can’t get an abortion in their neighbourhood but have to travel to another state.

But also in Europe, the situation is not good for women*. Although almost all European countries allow abortion on request or on broad social grounds, many EU countries still have administrative and procedural regulations which make it more painful for a woman* to have an abortion. While in Germany, the ban for doctors to inform women* about the methods they use for an abortion was voted down on 24 June 2022, in its neighbouring country Poland an abortion is possible only if a patient’s life or health is at risk or if the pregnancy is a result of rape. This regulation also applies for women* from Ukraine: Many women* got pregnant as a result of mass rape during the current war. Although this is a war crime, they can’t get an abortion in Poland without the confirmation that they were raped. There are many demonstrations in Poland against this hostile regulation.

Abortion has been legal in Russia since Soviet times. Now, the birth rate is extremely low and in order to raise it there are plans to make abortion less accessible for women* or even ban it completely. Due to Russia’s ongoing war against Ukraine the population decreases which might also be a reason for banning abortion in the near future. In general, in Russia the narratives about women* in society have changed even long before the start of the war when the orthodox church with its patriarchal views gained influence in society. Now women* are very often reduced to their reproduction function.

In this discussion, we would like to talk about the situation in the three countries Germany, Poland and Russia where we can see different developments: slight improvements for women* in Germany, deteriorations in Russia and an almost prohibition of abortion in Poland. We will discuss the legal situation, have a look at the discourse in society and will think about what can civil society do to support women*.

Our speakers are:- Lena Henke, Terre des Femmes (Germany)- Yulia Karpukhina, Eve's Rib (Russia)- Marta Lempart, Polish Women's Strike (Poland) (tbc)

If you want to take part in the discussion please register here:

The discussion is supported by the German Foreign Office. #CivilSocietyCooperation

Pol-Int team

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