We wholeheartedly welcome the decision of the French government to support the reproductive safety and freedom of Ukrainian refugees in Poland by financing Abortion Without Borders via IPPF EN.
Abortion Without Borders is a civil society initiative working in countries with restrictive laws to help people access abortion care at home with pills or abroad in clinics. The French financial support will specifically be used for the management of help lines and to assist Ukrainian women in Poland travel abroad to receive the care they so desperately need. Concretely, it is expected that the 60.000 euros will help at least 150 women to received safe and legal abortion care outside Poland.
Currently, Poland has one of Europe’s most restrictive abortion laws. In practice, it is almost impossible for those eligible for a legal abortion to obtain one. The barriers that have long faced Polish women now also affect Ukrainian refugees.
We know that access to emergency contraception and safe abortion care is even more important following the increased threat and terrifying reported incidence of abuse, sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) and trafficking facing refugees and displaced people. Timing is also of the essence when treating victims of sexual violence and delays can prove dangerous for their physical and mental health.
Civil society organizations and ordinary citizens are the ones providing this care to refugees, but this is not properly reflected in many funding schemes. This heroic effort is not sustainable. Without support, these solidarity networks will collapse, with devastating consequences for Ukrainian refugees in Poland.