Why Poland’s new government is challenged by abortion

Published: May 24, 2024
Patrice McMahon

When Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk formed a coalition government in 2023 committed to making “historic changes,” he promised to improve the country’s track record on women’s rights. Noticeably absent in the coalition’s agreement, however, was any specific wording on access to abortion, one of the most controversial issues under the previous government.

The coalition parties are united in their opposition to the conservative Law and Justice Party, PiS, which led the government for eight years. PiS weakened Poland’s democracy by undermining the independence of the judiciary and placing restrictions on the media, and it strained its relationship with the European Union. PiS also ushered in some of the strictest abortion laws in Europe, with the help of hand-picked judges from Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal.

Continued: https://theconversation.com/why-polands-new-government-is-challenged-by-abortion-228863

Poland’s abortion law bickering plagues Tusk coalition

The liberalization of abortion rights was a major election promise made by Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk. But the issue is controversial and there are major hurdles to a new law.

Jacek Lepiarz
April 15, 2024

Polish women had to wait a long time for this day. Some four months after the center-left coalition under Donald Tusk took office, the liberalization of abortion was finally on the agenda for the Sejm, the country's lower house of parliament. The debate was fierce.

"Old men in suits will no longer decide what women must do with their bodies," shouted Anna Maria Zukowska, a member of parliament for the co-governing The Left alliance, at the presentation of the bill on Friday. "No more hell for women!"

Continued: https://www.dw.com/en/polands-abortion-law-bickering-plagues-tusk-coalition/a-68812592

PM Donald Tusk faces uphill battle on reforming Polish abortion rights

Polish lawmakers voted Friday to advance bills that would lift a near-total ban on abortion in place since 2020, reviving an extremely polarising debate in the traditionally Roman Catholic country. But by launching an effort to liberalise abortion laws, Prime Minister Donald Tusk is moving to fulfil a campaign promise.

April 12, 2024

Members of the Sejm (lower house) voted to advance four separate abortion bills on Friday that would help bring Polish law into line with widespread European standards.

Two of the bills would guarantee access to abortion through the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, including the one introduced by Tusk’s Civic Platform party. A third proposes decriminalising offering assistance to a woman in terminating a pregnancy, currently punishable by three years in prison, while a fourth, stricter bill would keep the ban in place but allow abortion in cases of severe foetal defects.

Continued: https://www.france24.com/en/europe/20240412-pm-donald-tusk-faces-uphill-battle-reforming-polish-abortion-rights-poland

Poland is debating an end to its near-total abortion ban, setting up a heated political fight

Rob Picheta, CNN
Thu April 11, 2024

Poland is debating changes to its near-total abortion ban on Thursday, re-opening one of the country’s thorniest social and political debates in an effort to overhaul some of the strictest laws on reproductive rights in Europe.

Prime Minister Donald Tusk’s party has proposed changing the law – which currently prohibits terminations in almost all cases – to allow for abortions up to the 12th week of pregnancy.

Continued: https://www.cnn.com/2024/04/11/europe/poland-abortion-debate-tusk-intl/index.html

Poland’s president vetoes law on free access to morning-after pill for ages 15 and above

The Associated Press
 March 29, 2024

WARSAW, POLAND - Poland’s President Andrzej Duda on Friday vetoed a law that would have allowed over-the-counter access to the morning-after pill for girls and women ages 15 and above, his office said. Duda said he was concerned about the health of minors and heeding the voices of parents.

A statement by Duda’s office said the president sent the law back to the parliament, but was open to a debate on free access to the hormonal contraception pill for those aged 18 and above.

Continued: https://www.ctvnews.ca/world/poland-s-president-vetoes-law-on-free-access-to-morning-after-pill-for-ages-15-and-above-1.6827301

MPs and campaigners accuse Polish government of betrayal over abortion laws

Speaker says parliament will not consider updating country’s draconian abortion policies until mid-April

Weronika Strzyżyńska and Ashifa Kassam
Thu 7 Mar 2024

Women’s groups and politicians have taken aim at Poland’s parliamentary speaker, accusing him of betrayal and seeking to “freeze” the issue of abortion, after he said parliament would not consider legislation to tackle the country’s near-total ban on abortion until mid-April.

“We feel disappointed and betrayed,” said Dominika Ćwiek from Legal Abortion, one of the groups battling the country’s draconian abortion policies. “The rights of Polish women are being treated as a side issue.”

Continued: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2024/mar/07/mps-and-campaigners-accuse-polish-government-of-betrayal-over-abortion-laws

Ex-PM says he and “many PiS colleagues” favour overturning abortion ban introduced under their rule

FEB 29, 2024
Notes from Poland

Mateusz Morawiecki, who led the former Law and Justice (PiS) government that oversaw the introduction of Poland’s near-total abortion ban, now says he and “many PiS colleagues” would vote in favour of a proposal by one of the country’s new ruling groups to overturn that ban.

In December, the national-conservative PiS party was replaced in power by a more liberal coalition led by Donald Tusk. Two of the groups in that coalition – Tusk’s centrist Civic Coalition (KO) and The Left (Lewica) – want to not only end the near-total abortion ban but also introduce abortion on demand.

Continued: https://notesfrompoland.com/2024/02/29/ex-pm-says-he-and-many-pis-colleagues-favour-overturning-abortion-ban-introduced-under-their-rule/

Center-right group in Polish ruling coalition submits “compromise” abortion bill to return to pre-2021 law

FEB 24, 2024
Notes from Poland

A bill that would liberalise Poland’s abortion law has been submitted by the centre-right Third Way (Trzecia Droga), which is the more conservative wing of the ruling coalition that took power in December.

The group wants to restore the right to terminate pregnancies in cases where a birth defect is diagnosed in the foetus. Such abortions were banned under the former conservative Law and Justice (PiS) government.

Continued: https://notesfrompoland.com/2024/02/24/center-right-group-in-polish-ruling-coalition-submits-compromise-abortion-bill-to-return-to-pre-2021-law/

Will Poland’s New Government Legalize Abortion?

Despite campaign promises, the fight for abortion rights seems far from over.

FEBRUARY 12, 2024
Foreign Policy

After Poland’s parliamentary election in October, many voters were hopeful that the new government would finally scrap the country’s strict abortion law. The law, which had been in place for three decades, was tightened further in 2020, leading to a near-total ban on abortion.

The election ended the eight-year rule of Poland’s right-wing Law and Justice party (PiS), with the opposition winning enough seats to form a coalition government. In the lead-up to the vote, two of the three groups that made up the opposition—the centrist Civic Coalition and the Left—pledged to legalize abortion up to or through 12 weeks of pregnancy; the former promised to do so within the first 100 days in office.

Continued: https://foreignpolicy.com/2024/02/12/poland-abortion-rights-pro-choice-election-coalition-pis-law-ban/

Tusk faces a big fight overturning Poland’s abortion ban

The prime minister says easing Poland’s near-total abortion ban is a priority, but he’s facing stiff opposition from within.

FEBRUARY 9, 2024

WARSAW — Poland’s new government won power thanks to the votes of millions of women, but it's now split over an issue that garnered their support — easing abortion rules.

The far-right nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) government ruled from 2015 until last October and, in alliance with the Roman Catholic Church, espoused toughening Poland's already very restrictive abortion rules.

Continued: https://www.politico.eu/article/poland-tusk-faces-big-fight-overturning-abortion-ban/