Human Rights Council
47th regular session of the Human Rights Council
21 June 2021 – 13 July 2021
ID with WG on discrimination against women – report on Women’s and girls’ sexual and reproductive health rights in crisis

I make this statement on behalf of the Federation for Women and Family Planning from Poland.
We welcome the Working Group’s reports on SRHR in crisis, on its visit to Romania, and its continuous monitoring of the SRHR crisis in Poland through its 2019 country visit report1 and its statements2 on this issue.
In Poland the pandemic has been instrumentalised to ban access to abortion on foetal condition ground through a ruling of the illegitimate Constitutional Tribunal in October 2020. This has caused an increasingly chilling effect and stigmatising environment for doctors and their work which also impacts the remaining grounds for legal abortion. Doctors fear criminal penalties and refuse abortion care even in situations of risk to a pregnant person’s health or life. Doctors must be able to assist patients without fearing criminal prosecution.
We call on Poland and Romania to heed the WG’s recommendations to remove barriers and ensure that legal abortion is accessible to all. We call on Poland to urgently decriminalise abortion so pregnant persons’ health and lives are not put in risk any longer.
Finally, we deplore the underfunding of the UN human rights system and the drive for so-called efficiency, including the cancellation of general debates in June, which are a vital part of the agenda by which NGOs can address the Council without restrictions. We call for the reinstatement of general debates at all sessions, with the option of civil society participation through video statements.
I thank you.

1 https://undocs.org/A/HRC/41/33/Add.2 
2 See for instance https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=26434&LangID=E