23 August 2017, anti-abortion movement is marching on the streets of Moscow praying for an end of abortions. 40 Days For Life is a voluntary based movement which cause is to end abortions trough praying and fasting. They believe that life begins at conception and it is upon God`s will. The movement has started in the USA, but has expanded its representations worldwide.
Based in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Croatia, Germany, Hungary, Romania, Serbia and Spain the "For Life" movement operates in Europe, mostly with the support of the church and even some support by the government. They also organize worldwide initiatives called festivals like the one in Moscow, to promote their 40 days campaigns of praying and fasting by “groundbreaking, coordinated international mobilization”, as they call it.
Abortion is one of the commonly threated topics when it comes to religion and freedom of choice. Even though abortion is never clearly mentioned in the Bible, it is accepted as a violation against God`s will and the creation as God`s act. The ethics and morality behind the act of abortion related to the legal status of the fetus (is it a person, hence is abortion an act of murder) can also be related to some extend to the religion, because all laws of God are based on moral values.
Most countries in Europe allow abortion during the first trimester and under specific circumstances after it. Malta is the only exception where abortions are fully banned by law. In Ireland abortion is illegal as well, except of the cases where the woman`s life is endangered due to the pregnancy. Among former soviet countries Poland has the less liberal provisions. It has very strict abortion laws which allow abortion only when there is a risk to the life or health of the woman, when the pregnancy is a result of a criminal act (the criminal act has to be confirmed by a prosecutor), or when the fetus has serious malformations. Last year the Polish government, reinforced by the Catholic Church, tried to impose a full ban of abortions, but it did not succeed, after women`s groups and human rights movements strongly opposed this proposal by numerous protests all over the country.
The variety of abortion legislation is based on socioeconomic implications, but also is widely impacted by the influence of the church, meaning that more religious societies are opposing abortion stronger than others.
In any case it is inevitable to mention the right of a woman to choose freely. Article 16 of The UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women provides for the freedom of reproductive choice granting the same rights to women and men “to decide freely and responsibly on the number and spacing of their children and to have access to the information, education and means to enable them to exercise these rights”.
The Freedom Barometer examines the protection of women`s rights in 30 countries in Europe and Asia. More data can be found on www.freedombarometer.org