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Violations of Women’s and Newborns’ Rights in Childbirth Getting Worse in Slovak Hospitals during Pandemic


ODZ + ŽK, 29. 10. 2020

Slovak non-governmental organisations Občan, demokracia a zodpovednosť (Citizen, Democracy and Accountability (CDA)) and Ženské kruhy (Women’s Circles) warn of the increasing number of violations of the human rights of women and newborns in childbirth in Slovak hospitals during the current pandemic crisis. The separation of mothers from their newborns is one of the most severe forms of these violations. The organisations urgently stress that healthcare facilities and the state must ensure that childbirth care is provided in compliance with human rights and medical standards even in this complicated situation. Čítajte viac

Coronavirus: Women denied abortions because of the pandemic

BBC News, 24. 6. 2020

In some European countries, hospitals have stopped performing abortions. In others, where abortion is severely restricted, women have been unable to travel to get treatment elsewhere. In the past few weeks we’ve spoken to women who have resorted to backstreet abortions, and others left with no choice but to continue with unwanted pregnancies. Human rights organisations are now urging countries to make sure abortions are safely available.

See the BBC News report about the current struggle of women in some European countries to get abortions during the pandemic, due to restrictions of leading decision-makers. The reporters found a similar situation in countries across Europe – in Romania, Italy, Croatia, and Slovakia. According to Jean Mackenzie, the BBC Europe Correspondent, “in these countries it had been already difficult for women to get an abortion, and this crisis has just put more obstacles in their way”.

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Denied beds, pain relief and contact with their babies: the women giving birth amid Covid-19


The Guardian, 28. 5. 2020

Following reports worldwide, experts are warning that pandemic is pushing back progress on prenatal and maternity care

After Denisa’s son was born premature at 26 weeks she was unable to hold him, but spent as much time as possible near his incubator so he could get used to her voice. By the time he was well enough to be held by his mother, a state of emergency had been declared in Slovakia and Denisa was told to vacate her bed and leave the hospital to make way for Covid-19 patients.

The rush of patients never came, but strict rules meant she was unable to see her baby until he was discharged six weeks later. “Instead of a hug, I went home empty-handed only with my head full of questions,” she says. “Each day without my baby was taking away my strength and harming my mental health.”

Unable to have a birth companion, coerced into undergoing medical interventions, denied pain relief and separated from their newborns. This is the new reality for expectant and new mothers in many countries, as experts warn the coronavirus outbreak is leading to an infringement of women’s birth rights. Čítajte viac

COVID-19: Ensure women’s access to sexual and reproductive health and rights


Council of Europe, 7. 5. 2020

Statement by Commissioner Dunja Mijatović

It is already clear that the pandemic will deepen existing gender inequalities, given women’s over-representation in professions (and other unpaid activities) which expose them to a high risk of infection and in low-paid and precarious jobs which will be particularly badly affected by the ensuing economic crisis. Worryingly, the lockdown imposed in several European countries has also increased the exposure of women to gender-based violence, in particular domestic violence and sexual violence. While many member states are taking laudable measures in an attempt to mitigate the negative effects of the crisis on women’s rights and gender equality, they should not neglect women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights. Full respect of women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights is an essential component of Council of Europe member states’ obligations to guarantee women’s human rights and advance gender equality. Čítajte viac

Joint civil society statement on COVID-19 and abortion


NGOs, 23. 4. 2020

Today, we addressed the president of the SR, the president of the Slovakian parliament and the prime minister an appeal not to misuse the current COVID-19 pandemic for further restrictions in women´s human rights in the area of sexual and reproductive health. On the contrary, it is necessary to  guarantee their safe and timely access to essential sexual and reproductive health services, goods, and information in this situation.
The Joint civil society statement (8 April 2020):

European governments must ensure safe and timely access to abortion care during the COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic and public health crisis is presenting grave challenges for health care systems across Europe. As European countries work to address the pandemic, protect their populations, and meet the increased demand on health care workers and health care facilities it is vital that they adopt measures to safeguard the health, human dignity, physical and mental integrity, and reproductive autonomy of women and girls in the region. Čítajte viac

Public Defender of Rights: Access to sexual and reproductive health services during the COVID-19 pandemic


PDOR, 22. 4. 2020

Related to the providing of adequate services in the area of sexual and reproductive health during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Public Defender of Rights (PDOR) Mária Patakyová addressed minister of healthcare Marek Krajčí. Medialised information as well as NGOs reports show that doctors in some healthcare facilities in Slovakia refuse to perform abortions in the current situation. Hereby below, we present the full statement of the PDOR:

Media reports as well as reports from NGOs show that some health care facilities in Slovakia restricted women’s right to a birth companion of her choice during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, some health care facilities deny women access to pain relief (epidural analgesia), or perform caesarean section, or separate women from their newborns without proper medical indication. Some doctors are using the COVID-19 pandemic to suspend abortion care.

The Public Defender of Rights is concerned that these practices are not in line with international human rights standards and World Health Organization´s guidelines. Čítajte viac