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Poland to ban abortion for foetal abnormalities

Updated: Oct 28, 2020

Masses gather in the streets in protest bypassing Covid-19 restrictions

By: Marta Rodriguez

The court in Poland ruled that abortions due to foetal abnormalities were to be banned, effectively making abortion in the country almost illegal. Tribunal president Julia Przylebska declared that abortion in case of foetus abnormality was ‘a directly forbidden form of discrimination.’ The tribunal also stated that abortion in case of a foetus abnormality was anti-constitutional and amounted to eugenics.

‘Eugenics is the practice or advocacy of improving the human species by selectively mating people with specific desirable hereditary traits. It aims to reduce human suffering by “breeding out” disease, disabilities and so-called undesirable characteristics from the human population.’ – as defined by

Photo curtesy of milli_lu via Pixabay

In Poland, a majority of legal abortions are carried out due to foetal abnormalities. This amounted to only 1000 abortions last year. Nevertheless, it is estimated that between 80,000 and 200,000 polish women abort illegally or abroad each year.

Abortion will now only be legal in cases of rape, incest, or danger of death.

This is not the first time that the ban has been proposed in tribunal. In 2016 Jaroslav Kaczynski – one of the most important politicians of the Law and Justice Party (PiS) – declared that they would ‘strive to ensure that even cases of very difficult pregnancies, when the child is certain to die, very deformed, still end up in a birth, so that the child can be baptized, buried, have a name.’

It is believed that the government has taken the opportunity Covid-19 has brought with its restrictions to minimise protests against this ruling and push it through court. However, masses filled the streets of larger Polish cities protesting in spite of the ban on public gatherings. Banners with the word ‘War’ or slogans such as ‘You are building women’s hell’ or ‘You have blood on your hands’ peppered the protest. Some held coat hangers, reminiscent of the unsafe abortions some women are forced to carry out.

Many human rights groups have condemned the decision as a ‘violation of women’s rights’.

Dunja Mijatović, the Commissioner for Human’s rights in Europe tweeted that it was a ‘sad day for #womensrights

Screenshot of tweet by Dunja Mijatović via Twitter app

The Guardian reported that this change forms ‘part of [many] controversial judicial reforms that have put Poland on a collision course with the EU over concerns they undermine judicial independence and the rule of law.’

The ruling will not be official until it is published in the Journal of Laws – something which, it is believed, will happen shortly.


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