Joint press release from the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Health and Prevention, and the office of the Minister Delegate for Gender Equality, Diversity and Equal Opportunities
Since the beginning of the Russian aggression against Ukraine, several hundred displaced Ukrainian women in Poland have been confronted with restrictions on their fundamental right to abortion. Many of them had been raped or suffered sexual abuse during the conflict.
In Poland, displaced Ukrainian women are facing some of the most restrictive laws in Europe regarding access to elective abortions (EA). This situation is an attack on their basic rights and endangers their physical and psychological health, already undermined by the conflict.
The Ministry of Health and Prevention, the office of the Minister Delegate for Gender Equality, Diversity and Equal Opportunities, and the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs are therefore allocating €60,000 to the Abortion Without Borders (AWB) network, whose partners on the ground are working daily to facilitate access to abortion for displaced Ukrainian women seeking to obtain that procedure.
The ministries will support efforts to provide information and assistance to displaced Ukrainian women in Poland through the International Planned Parenthood Federation, which has been working with the network for several years. Operational support from NGOs belonging to the Abortion Without Borders network will include funding their hotline and providing logistical support for women whose situation requires them to travel to another country where abortion is legal and can be carried out in proper conditions, with access to care.
Since the beginning of the conflict, Abortion Without Borders has helped some 500 Ukrainian women seeking elective abortions in Poland. French government support for their effort will enable them to provide concrete assistance to at least 150 women. Meanwhile, the entrenchment of the conflict will mean that a growing number of women will require help to leave the country to obtain an elective abortion under proper conditions.
Minister of Health and Prevention Brigitte Bourguignon stated: “Since the beginning of the Russian aggression, the Ministry of Health has supported Ukraine and the victims of the conflict by providing assistance to refugees here in France, care for Ukrainian patients and massive health support to Ukraine and its neighbors. In working with Isabelle Rome and Clément Beaune to help the International Planned Parenthood Federation, we also want to step up our assistance to displaced Ukrainian women and demonstrate our tireless support for the right to elective abortion, which is a basic right when it comes to women’s health and freedom.”
Isabelle Rome, Minister Delegate for Gender Equality, Diversity and Equal Opportunities, attached to the Prime Minister, stated: “Since the beginning of Russia’s unjustified aggression, France has stood resolutely with the Ukrainian people. Women are particularly vulnerable to sexual violence. That is why Brigitte Bourguignon, Clément Beaune and I decided to provide support for displaced Ukrainian women in Poland. Access to elective abortion is a fundamental, inalienable right.”
Clément Beaune, Minister Delegate for European Affairs, attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, stated: “Displaced Ukrainian women in Poland, some of whom have been victims of sexual violence, are unable to access elective abortions. The initiative we are presenting together with Isabelle Rome and Brigitte Bourguignon is part of our relentless defense of women’s rights. We must be at the forefront of this battle for equality in Europe. We will therefore keep fighting to include the right to abortion in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. We must reaffirm this commitment on this final day of the French Presidency of the EU Council.”