Hundreds of protesters gathered in front of the tribunal building in Warsaw after the abortion ruling, backed by 11 of 13 judges. Smaller protests also took place in the cities of Krakow, Lodz and Szczecin.
Marianna Dobkowska, 41, told Reuters: “It’s sick that such controversial things are being decided at a time when the entire society lives in fear [of the pandemic] and is afraid to go into the streets.”
Abortion has been effectively banned in Poland after officials ruled that terminations due to foetal defects were unconstitutional.
The constitutional tribunal made the ruling on Thursday, removing one of the few legal grounds for ending a pregnancy in the largely Catholic country.
After the ruling goes into effect, abortion will only be permissible in Poland in the case of rape, incest, or a threat to the mother’s health and life. These cases make up only around 2% of legal terminations conducted in recent years.
“[A provision which] legalises eugenic practices in the field of the right to life of an unborn child and makes the right to life of an unborn child dependent on his or her health… is inconsistent… with the constitution,” Julia Przylebska, head of the constitutional tribunal, said.
Polish Constitutional Tribunal just ruled that abortion due to health issues, genetic defects, even lethal abberations is unconstitutional. This could mean a de facto ban on abortion in Poland as these constitute the vast majority of cases.
Today’s ruling has been met with condemnation from women’s rights groups, as well as the centrist and left-wing parliamentary opposition, who accuse the government of “legalising torture through the back door”.
Although the decision was made by judges at the Constitutional Tribunal, commentators note that the institution is under the influence of the ruling national-conservative Law and Justice (PiS), whose leaders have publicly called for an end to what they label “eugenic abortion”.