Belgium to Pay for Women in Poland to Have Abortions Abroad

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The government of Belgium has announced that it will contribute money for women in Poland to get abortions in other European Union member states, in response to the predominantly Roman Catholic country enacting a ban on most abortions earlier this year.

In January, the government of President Andrzej Duda enacted a citizen-led bill to ban abortions with exceptions for rape, incest, or in cases in which the mother’s life is in danger. Doctors who perform abortions in Poland for other reasons face up to three years in prison.

On Tuesday, marking the so-called “International Safe Abortion Day”, the Belgian Minister of Health and the Junior Minister for Gender Equality, Equal Opportunities and Diversity, Sarah Schlitz announced that the government would be donating €10,000 to a pro-abortion group in order to pay for women to seek abortions outside of Poland.

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“Access to abortion is a fundamental right that must be ensured by every democratic state. It allows women to own their own bodies, protect their health, and not be forced to give up life opportunities. When a state fails to protect its citizens, civil society must step in,” the Junior Minister for Gender Equality said in a statement.

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