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Events of 2008

Government expressions of homophobia remain a problem. In March, in a nationally televised speech, President Lech Kaczynski threatened to block ratification of the Lisbon Treaty, claiming that the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union would force Poland to legally recognize same-sex relationships.

Reproductive rights remain extremely limited, with lack of sex education and limited access to contraceptives. Access to safe and legal abortion is severely restricted by law, which criminalizes abortion in most circumstances. The law also protects a doctor's right to refuse to provide abortion services for reasons of "conscience." As a result, there is a high incidence of illegal and generally unsafe abortions, jeopardizing women's health and lives.