Liberties EU

On the occasion of the Global Day of Action for Access to Safe and Legal Abortion, European civil society organizations are launching a petition directed to the European Parliament to guarantee the respect of human rights standards on the issue.

International human rights law recognizes that obtaining a safe and legal abortion is crucial to women’s and girls’ effective enjoyment and exercise of their human rights, including, among others, the rights to life, non-discrimination, equality, health and privacy. UN treaty bodies have frequently expressed concern about the relationship between restrictive abortion laws, clandestine and unsafe abortions, and high rates of maternal mortality and morbidity. In cases of restrictive laws, the central problem is the difficulty of obtaining abortions even when women are legally entitled to undergo the procedure. According to the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights, once the state adopts statutory regulations allowing abortion in some situations, it must not structure its legal framework in a way that would limit real possibilities to access it. UN treaty bodies have also affirmed that where abortion is legal, states must ensure that it is available, accessible, acceptable and of good quality. Both the Court of Human Rights and UN treaty bodies have also found that restrictive abortion laws can constitute inhuman and degrading treatment.


This campaign is the initiative of the following civil society organizations: Rights International Spain, Hungarian Civil Liberties Union, Italian Coalition for Civil and Political Rights (CILD), Human Rights Monitoring Institute (Lithuania), Polish Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, Association for the Defense of Human Rights in Romania-the Helsinki Committee (APADOR-CH), Hellenic League for Human Rights, Greek Helsinki Monitor, and Bulgarian Helsinki Committee.