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The Warsaw Voice » Politics » May 20, 2009
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Poor Access to Abortion: UN Envoy
May 20, 2009   
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Polish women's access to contraceptives, prenatal tests and abortion is unsatisfactory, according to Anand Grover, United Nations special rapporteur "on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health."

Grover visited Poland May 5-11 and held a news conference at the end of his visit to tell reporters about his observations. He said he had met with women in Poland who said that Polish doctors refused to perform abortions even in cases when they are legal. Poland has some of the most restrictive abortion laws in Europe. Grover said the government must ensure that women's human rights are upheld in such cases without barriers and bureaucratic delays.

Grover added he had not obtained official data on the number of illegal abortions performed in Poland. Polish nongovernmental organizations put the figure at anywhere from 80,000 to 180,000 a year, he said.

Grover voiced concern over what he called a lack of information on children's and young people's sexual health. He appealed for providing unbiased information and education on sex and relationships.

Grover also spoke about complaints he received during his visit that methadone therapies for drug addicts were unavailable in Poland. Grover appealed to Polish lawmakers to adopt laws that would ensure unrestricted access to health services in line with the principle of equality and non-discrimination.

The UN special rapporteur is working on a report that is scheduled to be unveiled at a session of the UN Human Rights Council in March 2010.
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