Retrogressive legislative barriers to women’s access to abortion in Central and Eastern Europe
While most European countries continue to allow abortion on request or on broad socio-economic grounds, the past few years have seen a dramatic rise, particularly in Central and Eastern Europe, in legislative proposals aiming to restrict access to abortion services. One leading type of proposal seeks to eliminate one or more legal grounds for abortion, while another type seeks to impose procedural barriers that affect women’s timely access to abortion care—for example, by imposing mandatory waiting periods and biased counseling requirements. Such retrogressive legislative barriers may compound already-existing barriers to access, such as the growing prevalence of refusals of abortion care on the grounds of conscience by medical professionals. This presentation will provide an overview of the recent retrogressive proposals that have been adopted or introduced in a number of Central and Eastern European countries. It will also briefly address relevant standards developed by international human rights bodies on these issues.
Adriana Lamačková is the Senior Legal Consultant for Europe at the Center for Reproductive Rights, a global legal advocacy organization. Previously, she worked with the Slovak NGO Pro Choice. She also worked as a Legal Consultant at the European Roma Rights Centre and as a Legal Adviser at the Office of the Slovak Government. Adriana received a Master of Laws from the Law Faculty at University of P. J. Šafárik in Slovakia. She also holds an LL.M. from the University of Toronto, where she was a Reproductive Health Law Scholar, and a Ph.D. in International Law and Constitutional Law from Charles University in Prague.