Federa news and projects

A groundbreaking win for FEDERA – mental health recognized as a reason for accessing abortion in Polish hospitals, says the National Patients’ Ombudsman

Foundation for Women and Family Planning FEDERA won a clear position on abortion in public hospitals from the Ombudsman for Patients’ Rights. Today there is no doubt: the refusal to terminate the pregnancy, despite the threat to the patient’s mental health identified by the psychiatrist, is a violation of the law.

FEDERA’s Legal Team represented a 26-year-old woman before the Patients’ Ombudsman. The woman was refused an abortion in December 2021 by the University Clinical Hospital in Bialystok. She had full documentation of the diagnosis of fetal acephaly and two medical certificates certifying that the continuation of the pregnancy constituted a risk to her mental health. Despite this, the hospital authorities refused to perform the procedure. In the written refusal, there was a quote: “Depression is not dangerous for a pregnant woman.” The decision of the hospital management was supported by the position of the ultra-conservative Ordo Iuris Foundation, known for its bill punishing women for abortion. From our perspective, a position that is completely non-medical and inconsistent with applicable law.

Forcing anyone to carry a pregnancy to term can lead to serious mental health effects, including adaptation disorders, post-traumatic stress, or suicidal thoughts.

From the Ombudsman’s decision of March 13, 2023 (ref. no. RzPP-DPR-WPZ.431.362.2021.PS.) follows that “health, the threat of which may constitute a premise for legal termination of pregnancy, should also be understood as the mental health of a pregnant woman (the legislator does not directly limit the possibility of terminating pregnancy only to cases when it poses a threat to physical health women)”.

This is a great win, and the first step in recognizing that women’s well-being is above ideology, mental health is an equal part of it, and forced continuation of pregnancy is mental torture. From now on, every patient who has a certificate from a psychiatric specialist that further pregnancy threatens her mental health may report to a public hospital and refer to the decision of the Patient Rights Ombudsman.

FEDERA rebranded

In April we unveiled the transformation of our brand. We’ve moved closer to the purpose that guides us to share with clarity to the world why we do what we do.

With the help of professional agency FEDERA has developed a new sign and visual identity.  Our slogan is “Always on your side” and it reflects the essence of our work. We stand up for the survivors, all vulnerable persons and those who fight for the right to decide about their bodies and their sexuality.

The new FEDERA logo combines several motifs – F standing for Federa; the female symbol; the symbol for providing help; including in the medical context. FEDERA’s communication has always had a focus on people – their emotions, problems, actions and dreams and they remain at heart of our activities.

FEDERA’s SRHR support for Ukrainian refugees

Gynecological helpline in Ukrainian language available on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 17-21 pm,  tel. +48 573 185 628.

For the 1 year anniversary of the Russian invasion on Ukraine FEDERA drafted a report on the activities responding to the needs of Ukrainian refugees as regards SRHR. Among these are:

  • LEAFLET ON REPRODUCTIVE HEALTHCARE FOR WOMEN REFUGEES and information on our legal helpline I Ukrainian and Polish here
  • Brochures in Ukrainian and Russian about contraception, emergency contraception, sexually transmitted infections and growing up guide (for adolescents). Links below:
  • Contraception: Ukrainian, Russian language versions;
  • Emergency contraception: Ukrainian, Russian language versions;
  • Sexually transmitted infections: Ukrainian, Russian language versions;
  • Growing up guide for adolescents (Ponton): Ukrainian, Russian language versions

On 16 May FEDERA and other organisations engaged in the joint fact-finding since June 2022  launched the publication documenting the experiences of adult refugee women from Ukraine who needed access to sexual and reproductive health and gender-based violence support services. 

For the detailed information about all our activities please check both Polish and English websites, our FB, Twitter and Instagram accounts.

  • Launch of the WHO guidelines and Feminoteka opening of the Rape Crisis Center

FEDERA took part in the launch of the WHO guidelines in Polish on Health care for women subjected to intimate partner violence or sexual violence: a clinical handbook at the University of Warsaw.

The launch has been followed by the opening by the Foundation Feminoteka of the first in Poland Rape Crisis Center. We congratulate Feminoteka on this groundbreaking initiative.