Marta Bucholc, Maciej Komornik
6 November 2020
The abortion ruling of Poland’s politically servile Constitutional Tribunal was a debt repaid to Law and Justice’s rightwing Catholic constituency after its re-election last year. The reaction has been the biggest wave of demonstrations in the country since 1989. But the protest movement may be less of a threat to the government than conflicts within the rightwing alliance itself.
On 22 October 2020, the Constitutional Tribunal of Poland ruled abortion on the grounds of foetal abnormality to be unconstitutional. This effectively eliminated the possibility for legal abortion. Of the 1110 pregnancies legally terminated in Poland in 2019, a very small number in any case, 97% were because of foetal abnormalities. Should the ruling take effect, it would mean that abortion will only be permitted if a pregnancy is a result of a crime (such as rape or incest), or if it poses a danger to the pregnant woman’s life or health. The doctors and other people soliciting or assisting the termination of a pregnancy for foetal abnormalities would be criminally liable.