Published on European Feminist Forum, by Wanda Nowicka, 21 November 2007.
SRHR in EU and non-EU countries:
Despite the European Union (EU) enlargement there is a significant and growing difference between the status of women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) in both: new member states of the EU , as well as ‘old’ member states. The reproductive health in new member states is similar to the situation in other countries of the Central and East Europe (CEE). For instance, in many countries of the CEE region due to limited contraceptive options, abortion is used as the primary method of fertility control. Many women are still denied the access to modern contraceptives methods due to financial inaccessibility, lack of information or because they receive misleading information. Accurate sexuality education as well as access to reproductive health services is also limited as a result of growing influence of conservative forces, including the Catholic Church. Moreover, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including HIV/AIDS rates have dramatically risen in some of the countries of the region. Experts predict that this crisis is likely to spread to other CEE countries if no effective prevention programs are implemented. This stands in marked contrast to the situation in majority of the ‘old’ EU member-states, where there are significantly lower HIV/AIDS, teen pregnancy and abortion rates. This is a result of accessible sexual and reproductive health services and information, including subsidized contraceptives, accurate and unbiased sexuality education in schools, and information and services aimed at preventing transmission of STIs.
EU laws and policies: … (full text).