Parliamentary Hearing on Polish Abortion Tourism reveals the need for Change of Anti-Abortion Law. Polish restrictive 1993’s anti abortion law permitting abortions only if pregnancy results from criminal offence or the life of the mother was seriously threatened or if there was severe deformation of the fetus. The introduction of the law didn’t influence the reduction of number of abortion but led to development of abortion underground and abortion tourism.

The issue of abortion tourism was a topic of parliamentary hearing organized by Federation for Women and Family Planning. Invited guests, RH practitioners from Austria, Germany, the Netherlands , and UK highlighted one of the central characteristic of the phenomenon. In highly restrictive situations, class and socio-economic status play a huge role in whether or not a woman can access safe abortion. Only women who have financial resources can go to Western countries to obtain abortion. It is estimated that some 80, 000 – 200, 000 women undergo illegal abortion every year, and approximately 30, 000 women choose to cross the border in order to undergo a legal procedure. Although statistical data regarding abortion tourism, numbers provided by the speakers suggest the scale of the problem: for example, 400 abortions have been performed on Polish patients this year in German clinic near Polish border. The participants of the hearing underlined that the current abortion law is completely inadequate to meet the needs of women and girls seeking safe abortion care. Therefore, pregnant women and girls who are able to do are virtually forced to become abortion tourists. Although the term is often used in sexist and disparaging ways, what it really points to is that women’s reproductive health needs are being ignored. Women are too frequently being deprived of their right to access safe, compassionate, and professional abortion services close to home.


Polish women are being told by a pro choice poster campaign to come to Britain for free NHS (British National Health Service) abortions to avoid strict laws at home. But instead of arguing to make abortion more accessable in the EU, the British press argues against the necessary abortion tourism that women are being force into.

They can take advantage of cheap flights and hotels as part of a poster campaign which features a semi-naked woman with the words ‘my choice’ written across her stomach.

The flyers, which are being distributed by pro choice campaigners in Poland, mimic the Mastercard series of ‘priceless’ adverts. The lender’s campaign features different scenarios such as a first date or trip to the World Cup with various prices alongside.

In the Polish advert, the woman has various slogans around her which translate as: ‘Plane ticket to England at special offer: 300 zloty (£70). Accommodation: 240 zloty (£56). Abortion in a public clinic: 0 zloty.

‘Relief after a procedure carried out in decent conditions – priceless.’

At the bottom of each poster – next to two red and yellow circles similar to the Mastercard logo – is written in Polish ‘For everything, you pay less than an underground abortion in Poland’.

Poland is a strictly Roman Catholic country and women are banned from having a termination unless they have been raped, the baby is likely to be severely handicapped or they are risking their lives by having the child.

Every year thousands of Polish ‘ abortion tourists’ travel to Britain where they can have the procedure for free under EU regulations. As long as they can claim the termination is an ’emergency’, they do not have to pay.

The posters are being distributed by SROM, a feminist group which wants to raise awareness of Polish women’s options.

But instead of celebrateing SROM as heros of female self-determination the issue has raised yet again the issue of so-called ‘health tourism’ in the UK – in which foreigners come to take advantage of the british state-funded health system. (more…)