More than 60 organisations, including Amnesty International and local groups in the region, voiced “grave concern” over the situation unfolding for women in Ukraine but also displaced women forced to flee to Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, Moldova, and Romania.
Campaigners urged world leaders to ensure these women escaping war-ravaged Ukraine are provided with access to abortions and emergency contraception.
Krystyna Kacpura, executive director for the Polish-based Federation for Women and Family Planning, said: “Women and girls who are coming to Poland from Ukraine need to be able to urgently access essential sexual and reproductive healthcare.
“At the moment the barriers they are facing in Poland are severe and they are dealing with very distressing situations.”
The “call to action”, signed by local organisations in Ukraine, Moldova, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia, demands humanitarian help includes key sexual and reproductive health medicines and items, like period products, contraception, and abortion medication.
Leah Hoctor, of Europe for the Centre for Reproductive Rights, said: “It is imperative that European governments ensure that their humanitarian assistance prioritises the sexual and reproductive health and human rights of women and girls.
“Robust political will and financial support for sexual and reproductive health services is vital to address serious risks of harm to the health of women and girls and to ensure protection from gender-based violence.”
Adriana Mesochoritisová, of Freedom of Choice, a Slovakia-based feminist NGO, added: “There are so many gaps in the sexual and reproductive health care that is available in Slovakia to women and girls fleeing Ukraine.
“We need urgent action by state authorities so as to be able to help these women and girls get the healthcare they need.”
The warning comes as the Ukrainian authorities states at least 1,300 people are still ensnared in the basement of a Mariupol theatre bombed by Russian forces.
Health professionals on the frontline of the war recently told The Independent Ukrainian women’s lives are being placed at risk by giving birth in bomb shelters with a lack of medicine and equipment.
Campaigners said there is a lack of water, medication and blood for pregnant women giving birth in Ukraine in the wake of Russia’s invasion as they warned hospitals have been bombed.
Ukraine’s emergency services have warned hundreds of structures, such as hospitals, transport facilities, people’s houses, and nurseries have been wiped out since Russia’s invasion.
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