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UN human rights committee to Poland parliament: reject anti-abortion bill

[JURIST] A committee of independent experts under the UN Human Rights Council [official website] on Thursday urged [press release] the Polish parliament to reject a proposed bill that would further restrict abortion rights in Poland.

The bill would ban abortion in situations where there is a severe fetal anomaly, one of only three legal grounds for termination of pregnancy available in a country that already has one of Europe's most restrictive abortion laws. Human rights organizations see the bill as Poland's latest attempt [HRW press release] to roll back women's reproductive rights.

The UN Working Group on on the issue of discrimination against women in law and in practice [official website] said that the bill "risk[s] damaging women's equality, dignity, autonomy, and bodily integrity, restricting their access to information and their rights to a private life and to health, and exposing them to forms of cruel and inhuman treatment." Furthermore, they underlined that forcing women to continue pregnancy under any circumstances violates their human rights.

The experts urged the Parliament "to respect the right of women to make autonomous decisions about their own bodies and reproductive functions," rights which "are at the very core of their fundamental right to equality and privacy concerning intimate matters of physical and psychological integrity."

In 2016, Poland rejected [JURIST report] proposed legislation that would have represented a total ban on abortion. The 2016 vote was impacted [BBC report] by large protests against the ban.

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