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CEDAW Committee: Russia and Slovakia must ensure women’s reproductive rights


In November, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women reviewed Russia and Slovakia and expressed numerous concerns about the barriers that prevent women and adolescent girls from enjoying their reproductive rights. In its Concluding Observations CEDAW called for wide ranging reforms to law and policy regarding access to abortion, contraception and antiretroviral drugs as well as better provision of sexuality education, treatment of women during childbirth, and redress for Romani women subject to forced sterilization.

The Committee’s observations criticize both governments for introducing new restrictions on women’s access to abortion through mandatory waiting periods and biased counseling and information requirements intended to make access to timely abortion services more burdensome for women. CEDAW called for the removal of these requirements in both Russia and Slovakia and specifically recommended that Slovakia ensure that information provided to women seeking abortion is evidence-based These barriers were introduced in both countries over the last six years and reflect a concerning retrogressive trend in abortion legislation that has emerged across Central and Eastern Europe.

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