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Project October 15, 2019

Reproductive Rights and the Family in Poland and Denmark

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A woman walks in front of election posters in Warsaw. Image by Kacper Pempel. Poland, 2019.
A woman walks in front of election posters in Warsaw. Image by Kacper Pempel. Poland, 2019.

What does reproductive justice look like in two very different European countries? This project will look at issues of reproductive rights and family-building in Poland and Denmark, and in particular how governments selectively support and curtail reproductive autonomy through measures such as restricting access to abortion and assisted reproductive technologies, or provide family subsidies and IVF to those who need it.

In Poland, women have frozen eggs or embryos, but, because of the current restrictive IVF law, cannot access them because they lack a male partner with whom to do IVF. A second story, at the other end of this continuum, examines the landscape of abortion access and how women access it in an environment where it has been all but banned. Lastly, a baby bonus program known as Family 500+ program has brought down child poverty, but against a backdrop of anti-LGBT rhetoric, the defunding of domestic violence shelters, and the promotion of the "traditional" family. Who counts as a family in Poland, and who wins and loses under these policies?

Meanwhile, in Denmark, generous family policies give new parents a year of leave, and provide government-funded IVF for women 40 and younger. So why aren't people having more children? This story looks at whether global birth rates will ever rise again, with Denmark as a key case study.

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