By adopting more restrictive regulations on abortion Lithuania would join a group of three countries of the European Union (Malta, Ireland and Poland), where access to abortion is significantly limited.
The Committee considered the recent official reports from Lithuania as well as a shadow letter submitted by the Seimos Planavimo ir Seksualines Sveikatos Asociacija (The Family Planning and Sexual Health Association-FPSHA) based in Vilnius, Lithuania and the Center for Reproductive Rights, based in New York. In their letter of June 5, 2008, organizations brought to the Committee’s attention the pending restrictive abortion legislation. And during Lithuania’s review, CEDAW committee members pressed the government delegation not only on access to contraception but also on proposed legislation that seeks to defend prenatal life and would pose restrictions on access to abortion. Japanese committee member Yoko Hayashi stated that governmental restrictions on abortion “contradict the full enjoyment of women’s reproductive health rights that are protected by CEDAW.”
CEDAW is recommending that instead of changing the laws to restrict abortion (which won’t effect the number of abortions or population growth), Lithuania develop strategies to increase family planning, “such as a comprehensive range of contraceptives, including emergency contraception, more widely available and affordable, provide mandatory sexual education in schools and increase knowledge and awareness about family planning among women as well as men.”