New Abortion Laws in Poland

#GS2 #Laws 

Thousands of women in Poland are protesting against court ruling that restricts their right to access safe and legal abortions.

  • Human rights activists and groups across the world, including Amnesty International, have widely condemned the Polish court’s ruling.


What was the Polish court’s recent ruling on abortions?

  • Recently, Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal ruled that an existing law allowing abortions of malformed foetuses was unconstitutional.
  • In the ruling, the tribunal’s president said that permitting abortions in the case of foetal deformities legalised “eugenic practices with regard to an unborn child, thus denying it the respect and protection of human dignity.
  • Malformed fetus: Fetal abnormalities are conditions that affect a fetus or embryo and may be fatal or cause disease after birth.
  • Eugenics: Eugenics is the practice or advocacy of improving the human species by selectively mating people with specific desirable hereditary traits.


Poland’s Abortion Laws

  • The existing 1993 abortion law permits the termination of pregnancy on the grounds of foetal defects.
  • Poland's abortion laws were already considered some of the strictest laws in Europe and after the enactment of the court’s decision, abortions will only be permitted in cases of rape, incest, or if there is a threat to the mother’s life.


Earlier rulings

  • In 2016, thousands of women went on strike in protest against a proposal for a complete ban on abortions.
  • The draft law was to be enacted, women who were found to have had abortions could have faced a jail term of up to five years.
  • Doctors who carried out or assisted in abortions would also be liable for jail time.
  • The draft law was proposed by an anti-abortion citizens’ group and was initially supported by the Catholic Church. However, the Church later backed out.
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