In a disturbing irony, Poland’s decision to remove the “fetal defect” grounds for abortion will have a disproportionately negative impact on the lives and well-being of women with disabilities.
by MAGDA SZAROTA and SUZANNAH PHILLIPS
On Oct. 22, Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal ruled that Poland’s law permitting abortion on grounds of “a severe and irreversible fetal defect or incurable illness that threatens the fetus’s life” was unconstitutional. The decision triggered mass protests across Poland and uniting hundreds of thousands of people from all walks of life in their concern over the increasing restrictions on women’s rights.
This decision effectively bans access to safe and legal abortion for all pregnant persons, including women with disabilities. The Tribunal asserted that removing the “fetal defect” grounds for abortion would protect the rights of persons with disabilities.
The state remains one of seven with no gestational limits on the procedure.
By Anna North
Nov 3, 2020
Colorado voters just rejected a measure that would have banned abortion in the
state after 22 weeks’ gestation, according to the New York Times and the
The measure, Proposition 115, was backed by the anti-abortion group Due Date
Too Late, which argued that abortions after 22 weeks were inhumane. But
supporters of abortion rights were concerned about the impact of the measure on
pregnant people, not just in Colorado, but around the country.
Nov 03, 2020
WARSAW — Poland needs a period of calm to discuss a ruling by the highest court that bans most abortions, a government spokesman said after the measure did not take effect on Monday as expected following two weeks of mass protests.
Widespread outrage among women and others greeted the Oct. 22 ruling which bans terminations due to fetal defects, ending one of the few legal grounds left for abortion in a staunchly Roman Catholic country with a deeply conservative government.
Poland's right-wing government is delaying the publication and implementation of a court ruling that tightens the abortion law
By MONIKA SCISLOWSKA, Associated Press
3 November 2020
WARSAW, Poland -- Poland’s right-wing government is delaying the publication and implementation of a high court ruling that tightens the abortion law and that has triggered almost two weeks of nationwide protests.
A government official said Tuesday that the leaders are taking time to debate the contested ruling and find a solution.
Anti-government rallies continue over court’s ruling to restrict access to terminations
Shaun Walker, Central and eastern Europe correspondent
Tue 3 Nov 2020
Poland’s rightwing government has delayed implementation of a controversial court ruling that would outlaw almost all abortion after it prompted the largest protests since the fall of communism.
“There is a discussion going on, and it would be good to take some time for dialogue and for finding a new position in this situation, which is difficult and stirs high emotions,” Michał Dworczyk, the head of the prime minister’s office, told Polish media on Tuesday.
by Emma Reynolds, CNN
Sun November 1, 2020
(CNN)The Abortion Dream Team usually receives about 400 calls a month, from women seeking advice and information. Last week, the Polish advocacy group had 700 in the space of three days, according to team member Justyna Wydrzynska.
Some came from women who had just arrived at hospital to have abortions because of fetal defects -- only to be told to go home after Poland's highest court on October 22 imposed a near-total ban on abortion.
The passion behind the demonstrations signifies a battle for basic democratic standards in a world of creeping authoritarian temptations.
by Maria Skóra
30th October 2020
On October 22nd, the Constitutional Court in Poland made an unprecedented decision, declaring abortion due to foetal defects unconstitutional. Because around 90 per cent of all legal abortions in the country are performed on this criterion, upon entering into force this ruling will in practice drastically limit access to safe termination of pregnancy. It stands in opposition to medical science and to the will of the majority of the population, which—according to the polls—supports the existing abortion regime, already one of the strictest in Europe.
This battle started as early as 2016, with ‘pro-life’ associations lobbying the parliament for an amendment to the law. They failed then but the change has now effectively been introduced by the Constitutional Court. The new status quo is not only controversial on its merits but also because the court’s judicial neutrality, vis-à-vis the governing Law and Justice Party (PiS), has long been questioned.
Institutions appear to enforce controversial ban despite legislation not yet taking effect
Fri 30 Oct 2020
Hospitals in Poland have been turning away women seeking abortions even though a court ruling that has instituted a near-total ban on terminations has not yet taken effect.
The ban, which outlaws one of the three narrow exceptions under which abortion is still permitted – that of severe foetal defects – has sparked huge protests in Poland.
About 100,00o people take to the streets of Warsaw to oppose tightened abortion law
Christian Davies in Warsaw
Fri 30 Oct 2020
About one hundred thousand protesters took to the streets of the Polish capital, Warsaw, on Friday, in the largest demonstration of popular anger directed against Poland’s ruling rightwing Law and Justice party (PiS) since it assumed office in 2015.
Protests have been held across the country since Poland’s constitutional tribunal declared earlier this month that abortions in instances where a foetus is diagnosed with a serious and irreversible birth defect were unconstitutional. Such procedures constitute about 96% of legal abortions in Poland, which already has some of the most restrictive abortion laws in Europe.
Outraged by a court decision to ban nearly all abortions, tens of thousands of women took to the streets of Poland’s capital on Friday, culminating a week of big protests across the country.
By Anatol Magdziarz and Marc Santora
Oct. 30, 2020
WARSAW — Ignoring the threat of prosecution and the dangers posed by a surge of coronavirus cases, tens of thousands of women outraged by a court decision to ban nearly all abortions in Poland converged in Warsaw on Friday, intensifying what have been the largest demonstrations in the country since the fall of communism in 1989.
With a musical medley that included Darth Vader’s theme from Star Wars, in a poke at the government, and techno music blaring over loudspeakers, crowds of women flooded the streets of the capital. Many of the women had the red lightning bolt that has become the iconic image of the movement emblazoned on their clothes, as the police and military security officers flanked them as they marched.