Polish Abortion Law Explained

How and why did the Polish government approve the restrictive abortion law? And what is the reaction of Europe?

Amnesty International, protests in Warsaw, eng. “The hell of women continues”

The background

The parliament's majority in Poland is covered by Law and Justice, a national conservative and right orientated party, which is in the country´s lead since 2015. Their chairman, Jarosław Kaczyński, is known for trying to revert the status of Poland to the conservative and traditionally catholic country it was before the communist regime. Even though Poland is a republic with a president, Kaczyński is nowadays considered the most powerful politician in the country as well as on the world´s level. Because of the prevailing conservative and religious beliefs, lots of country´s laws hardly correspond to rather liberally tuned rest of middle and west Europe. But let´s stick to the problem of abortion politics for now.

“We will 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 baptised, buried, have a name.” — Jarosław Kaczyński, 2016

The reversal came in October 2020, when the Polish Constitutional tribunal declared abortion in the case of severe fetal defects illegal with a reference to the Constitution.

Protests and their symbols

As soon as the news came out, demonstrators crowded the streets not only in Poland but the solidarity with the women´s suffering resonated with people all over the world. One lucky thing is that the media, at least in Europe, have let this controversy a lot of space, so it got spread internationally. The influence wave was so strong, that it even overweighted the American election for a while.

Reaction of Europe

The decision of the Polish government shook Europe. In November, the European Parliament released a statement that accuses the Polish nationalist government of pressuring the Constitutional Court to impose the near-total ban on abortion. According to Brussel, it has definitely shown the collapse of the independence of justice in Poland and massive control of Law and Justice, after clashing with European Union for the past 5 years of the party´s rule. However, every accusation has been rejected and disproved.

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