S&D Group stands together with Polish women against government’s new attack on women’s rights

the Polish government announced its intention to restrict access to the morning-after pill.

The Socialists and Democrats are alarmed at a new attempt by the Polish government attacking women. 

Last Tuesday the Polish government adopted a draft bill restricting access to the morning-after pill. The pill, which has been available over the counter since 2015, in accordance with EU law, will be ‘prescription only’ if the bill is approved by the Parliament. However, access to it only on prescription would render it utterly ineffective as it has to be taken without delay.

The measure constitutes a new attack on women’s reproductive rights and their freedom to make decisions about their own bodies. It comes after a failed effort to ban abortions, leading civil society to fear that more such bills are to follow. Last year the right-wing Law and Justice Party government tried to further restrict the already restrictive abortion law, but buckled under pressure from nationwide demonstrations.

Moreover, S&Ds denounce the hypocrisy of the Polish government which, on the one hand, wishes to reduce the number of abortions carried out in the country, while, on the other hand, limits access to contraceptive pills meant to prevent undesired pregnancies and avert abortions. Access to the pill only on prescription would imply an additional cost, visit to the gynaecologist, which not all women are well-off enough to afford.

S&D Group spokeswoman on women's rights and gender equality, Iratxe García Pérez MEP, said:

“Last October, the S&D Group went to Poland to demonstrate together with civil society against the proposals to widen the ban on abortion to include cases where a woman has been the victim of rape or incest, although the existing laws are already some of the most restrictive in Europe. Today, again, we stand together with Polish women against the new government's proposal to drastically restrict access to oral contraception and the morning-after pill, which until now has been available over the counter. We will continue our fight for fundamental rights and call on the Polish parliament to reject this proposal, which is not only detrimental to women's health and choice.”