- Poland has imposed a near-total ban on abortion including termination of pregnancies with fetal defects.
- Poland’s constitutional tribunal court states that abortions may only be permitted in case of rape, incest and when the mother’s life is in danger
- A nationwide protest is currently ongoing. More demonstrations against the new rule are planned for Thursday and Friday at Warsaw and several other towns.
Poland, one of Europe’s most devoted Catholic countries has imposed a near-total ban on abortion including termination of pregnancies with fetal defects. This unexpected announcement comes as a major blow to pro-choice advocates of the nation.
The abortion law which is set to come into effect from Wednesday has sparked major outrage among the public. A nationwide protest is currently ongoing with thousands of demonstrators taking it to the streets despite a ban on gatherings due to Covid-19 restrictions. More demonstrations against the new rule are planned for Thursday and Friday in several towns across the country including the capital, Warsaw.
Poland’s constitutional tribunal court has ruled that abortions may only be permitted in case of rape, incest and when the mother’s life is in danger. This was announced in last year October sparking weeks of major protests. Analysts even said that some of the protests were as large as the Solidarity movement of the 1980s which ended the Communist rule.
The court’s verdict on abortion was published in the official gazette late on Wednesday According to Reuters reports, abortion has emerged as one of the most divisive issues since PiS came into power in 2015 promising poorer, older and less-educated Poles a return to a traditional society mixed with generous welfare policies.
On Wednesday, officials reported that the government would now focus on assisting parents of disabled children even though PiS and its centrist predecessors have always been heavily criticised for not doing enough in that segment.
PiS lawmaker, Bartlomiej Wroblewski said, “The state can no longer take a life away only because someone is sick, disabled, in poor health,” while denying all criticism of the opposition. “No law-abiding government should respect this ruling,” Borys Budka, leader of Poland’s largest opposition party, the centrist Civic Platform, told reporters.
In a justification published on Wednesday, the court had left open the possibility of the parliament regulating some circumstances covered by the law. A PiS lawmaker, Marek Suski said that the party will consider introducing new rules that could allow the most extreme fetal deformities to be excluded. However, political commentators believe that achieving consensus between PiS and its governing allies won’t be easy.
Taking on the public radio, Suski said, “In cases when the fetus doesn’t have a skull or has no chance to live outside the womb, there should be a choice. We will work on this.”