March 2. 2024. 1:21

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Finland denies having promised free abortion to Polish women


The Finnish government did not promise Polish women free abortions, denying claims Polish MEP Robert Biedroń made at the start of March.

Following a meeting with Finnish Prime Minister and Social Democratic Party Chair Sanna Marin on 2 March, Biedroń tweeted that his Left party (S&D) and Marin’s party agreed that the Finnish cabinet would help Polish women get access to free abortion in Finland.

The announcement sparked a harsh reaction in Finland, especially among the opposition. “The declaration on abortion is absurd and clinical. Our health care is needed for Finns, not for killing Polish children,” tweeted Christian Democrats MP Päivi Räsänen (KD, EPP).

When Biedroń’s claims went viral, Marin’s office denied the MEP’s words.

The meeting with Polish Left politicians “was a courtesy 10-minute talk,” during which the Polish delegation “described to the prime minister the situation on human rights in the country and hoped that cooperation on defending women’s rights in Europe is intensified in the future,” the office said.

“No declaration was made” on facilitating Polish women’s access to abortion, the office told Ilta-Sanomat.

The representatives of the Polish Left party were invited to Finland by Finnish Social Democratic MEP Miapetra Kumpula-Natri, according to whom the Polish politicians misunderstood the reaction of their Finnish counterparts.

“They knew that only weeks remained until the end of the government’s term in office, so nothing could be promised on behalf of the state. It was not a moment of negotiations,” she said, adding that the Finnish side did not want to end the meeting with “thank you and goodbye,” so they promised to continue the discussion.

On the Polish side, MEP Jakub Ratajczak, contacted by Ilta-Sanomat, later said, “there was a misunderstanding”. No binding agreements were concluded during the meeting, he added.

“Biedroń touched upon abortion because we have a horrible abortion law. He asked if there was a possibility of having Finnish support on the issue,” Ratajczak said.

“Marin expressed her support to the Polish women but was unable to promise anything, especially on behalf of the government,” he added.

Poland has some of Europe’s strictest abortion laws which were further curtailed when the Constitutional Tribunal deemed foetal impairment unconstitutional in 2022. Abortion has since only been allowed only in cases of rape or incest or when the pregnancy endangers the mother’s health.

(Aleksandra Krzysztoszek | EURACTIV.pl)