At the initiative of the Coalition for Gender Equality, several Romanian NGO’s signed an open letter sent to the Romanian Ministry of Health and the Department for Emergency Situations. The letter signals that following the recent Emergency Order 9490 dated October 4th, 2021 and suspending non-urgent medical procedures, women's access to on-demand abortion services is left to physicians decision, even though it is an unpostonable intervention. Romanian women's access to on demand abortion services thus becomes drastically limited in many public medical facilities in the country.
The past year, with the issue of a similar Emergency Order, only 12 public hospitals performed on demand abortions throughout the country.
The current reality is that women and teenagers in Romania are turning to non-governmental organizations to help them find a doctor to perform abortions on request. And many women with no financial resources have had to either resort to dangerous procedures or to succumb to carry the pregnancy against their will.
Non-governmental organizations recall that during the communist period and the 770/1966 Decree outlawing abortions, the prohibitions of on demand abortions did not lead to a decrease in the number of abortions, but rather to an increase of unsafe abortions (performed in non-sterile conditions, in the absence of medical staff and equipment, outside of a hospital or medical facility), even at the cost of many women’s death .
The latest research on the access to on request abortions, conducted this September by the FILIA Center, highlights the unsafe abortion cases since the beginning of the pandemic, from five cities around Romania: Bucharest, Constanța, Sibiu, Motru and Segarcea. Out of 171 hospitals contacted, only 59 performed abortions on request, 69 reported not performing them at all, and in 9 hospitals medical abortion was performed. Of the 802 obstetricians-gynecologists working in the 171 hospitals that responded to our request, only 275 perform abortions on request.
The NGOs demand that the recently issued Emergency Order clearly stipulates that on-demand abortion services must be treated as an emergency, being an intervention that cannot be postponed !
We express our concern that the current situation in Romania is starting to resemble that of other EU countries (Poland, Hungary, Malta) regarding the restrictions on abortion on demand. Women in Poland are forced to travel to Germany, Belgium, Spain or the United Kingdom to seek safe abortion services. We cannot let this happen in our country either! Women and girls’ rights to make their own reproductive health decisions must be respected!
List of signatory organizations:
1. FILIA Center
2. SEX vs THE STORK Association
3. AnA Society for Feminist Analyses
4. FRONT Association
5. Association for freedom and equal opportunities (ALEG)
6. Center Partnership for Equality (CPE)
7. E-Romnja - The Association to Promote Roma Women's Rights
8. ACCEPT Association
9. Euroregional Center for Public Initiatives
10. TONAL Association
11. Mothers for Mothers Association
12. SAMAS Association
13. White Cross Foundation
14. Romanian National Disability Council
15. Impreuna Agency
16. Desire Foundation
17. National Alliance of Student Organisations in Romania (ANOSR)
18. Society for Contraceptive and Sexual Education
19. Community Safety and Mediation Center
20. Romanian Women's Lobby Association