October’s court ruling outlaws abortions even in the case of foetal abnormalities
May 8, 2021
Derek Scally in Berlin
Justyna Wydrzynska draws an exhausted breath before describing her long days assisting the Polish women who call her each day for help.
A member of the ironically titled Abortion Dream Team, a collective which helps Polish women secure terminations abroad, Ms Wydrzynska said the women who reached her were living in a waking nightmare.
A secretary of state at Poland’s Foreign Ministry said abortions offered to Polish women in Czech clinics are “an encouragement to violate the rights of Polish citizens” and could affect bilateral relations.
Claudia Ciobanu, Warsaw
May 3, 2021
The Polish government on Monday confirmed a report by the Czech weekly Respekt that a representative of the Polish embassy in Prague had sent a letter to the Czech health minister in March asking him to intervene to block legislation being debated by the Czech parliament that would clarify the terms under which foreigners can get abortions in the country.
The intervention by the Polish chargé d’affaires in Prague, described as diplomatically unusual by a Czech deputy minister for legislation, indicates that the right-wing Law and Justice-led (PiS) government is now looking to prevent Polish women from seeking a termination abroad after it engineered a near-total ban on abortion at home. On October 22, the Constitutional Tribunal, which has been illegally stuffed with PiS-friendly judges, ruled that abortions in the case of a malformation of the foetus are unconstitutional.
Human Rights Watch
March 31, 2021
(Berlin) – Bomb and death threats targeting at least seven groups in Poland for supporting women’s rights and the right to abortion are disturbing reminders of escalating risks to women’s human rights defenders in the country, Human Rights Watch, CIVICUS, and International Planned Parenthood Federation-European Network (IPPF-EN) said today.
The authorities should urgently investigate, protect the women targeted and hold those responsible for the threats accountable. Polish officials should also counter abusive misinformation campaigns targeting activists.
Mar 8, 2021
WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Women’s rights activists in Poland marked International Women’s Day on Monday caught between reasons to celebrate and a heavy sense that they are facing a long battle ahead.
This year’s Women’s Day, which was marked with protests, comes after a near total ban on abortion took effect in January in the mostly Roman Catholic country, a step that had long been been sought by the conservative ruling party, Law and Justice.
When terminations are banned in Poland, Polish women buy train tickets
Feb 27th 2021
Wander around any Polish city and the same phone number pops up on an array of unlikely surfaces. It is scrawled on bus stops and billboards. It can be daubed on the side of a church. Head online and the same number (+48 222 922 597) appears in people’s usernames. Those who dial it are put through to Kobiety w Sieci (“Women on the Net”), a group that offers women information on how to get abortions. In a country where providing terminations is now, in effect, illegal, it is a useful number to have.
In October Poland’s constitutional court struck down a law allowing abortion in cases of fetal abnormality. Of the 1,000 or so legal abortions in Poland per year before the ban, nearly all were in this category. Now, abortion is limited to cases of rape or to save a mother’s life. This fulfils a long-held dream of Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party to clamp down on abortions. Activists responded by turning cities into a gonzo Yellow Pages.
The PiS, the Catholic Church, and the Denial of Basic Human Rights
By Enora Lauvau
On Feb 21, 2021
The McGill International Review
Known to be a conservative Roman Catholic nation, Poland has long been home to fierce debate over abortion rights, with the two opposing sides consisting of traditionalists and those advocating a more progressive agenda. Tensions reached an all-time high last October, as the country’s Constitutional Tribunal ruled to further increase the restrictions on legal abortions. Already, Poland had some of the most stringent abortion laws in Europe, with abortion been legal in only three cases: fetal abnormalities, a direct threat to the woman’s health, and rape or incest. In a decision made on October 22, 2020, however, the court declared abortions in the case of congenital defects illegal, on the basis that the Polish Constitution protects human life. Considering that out of the mere 1,100 abortions that legally occurred in Poland last year, 98 per cent of them were for this reason, such a decision essentially ensures that those seeking abortions will either be forced to leave the country or perform them at home, both of which will put their health at risk and leave them vulnerable to legal prosecution. Already, women’s rights groups estimate that between 80,000 to 150,000 citizens get abortions outside of Poland’s health system each year.
FEBRUARY 15, 2021
Some members of the Civic Coalition (KO), Poland’s main opposition grouping, are in favour of abortion on request, PAP has learned.
KO member Nowoczesna has drafted a bill proposing the introduction of the so-called “German variant” allowing abortion on request up to 12 weeks of pregnancy following consultations with a doctor and psychologist.
By Valérie Gauriat
In front of one of Warsaw's main hospitals, an ominous van is parked. Its sides are covered in an image of what is allegedly a dead fetus. It's a message from anti-abortion groups to one of the capital’s few facilities that still perform pregnancy terminations.
A recent ruling by the Constitutional Tribunal has just toughened one of the most restrictive abortion laws in Europe. Terminations in Poland were once only allowed in cases of rape, incest, danger to the mother's health or life, serious defects of the fetus or incurable disease. The new amendments mean that last option is now prohibited.
BY MIRA PTACIN
February 11, 2021
It’s been called different things: the Coat Hanger Rebellion, Black Protests, Strajk Kobiet, or Women’s Strike. For half a decade, it’s continued to grow louder and stronger. Now, many are calling it a revolution: millions of Polish women, men, and children protesting the government and all-powerful Catholic Church’s continuous attempts at a near-total ban of abortion.
Over the past several years, Poland’s conservative Law and Justice Party (PiS) has introduced increasingly draconian restrictions on abortion access in the country. In 2016, a proposal was introduced that would ban nearly all abortions except those necessary to save a woman’s life. The citizens of Poland took to the streets, and the protests had a dramatic impact: The the PiS, which had previously championed the bill, voted the legislation down.
Marta Lempart charged with insulting a police officer among other alleged offences
Maya Oppenheim, Women’s Correspondent
Feb 11, 2021
A woman’s rights activist involved in protests against the widely criticised near-total abortion ban in Poland has been charged.
In recent months Poland has been rocked by the largest protests since the collapse of communism after the government unveiled plans to further tighten already restrictive abortion laws last October - with demonstrations erupting again last month after the court’s justification for the original ruling was enshrined into law.