The Guardian view on Poland’s abortion ban: a betrayal of democracy

Mass pro-choice protests across the country have morphed into a rebellion against an authoritarian government and an over-powerful church

Wed 28 Oct 2020

When Poland’s high court ruled in favour of a near-total ban on abortion last Thursday, the country’s most powerful politician, Jaroslaw Kaczyński, probably congratulated himself on the successful completion of a cunning plan. Four years ago, his Law and Justice party (PiS) was forced to back down after it proposed legislation to achieve the same goal. Hundreds of thousands of women took to the streets to protest. Parliamentarians were rattled and the bill was dropped.

Poland already has the toughest abortion restrictions of any country in Europe, bar Malta, and polls consistently demonstrate popular opposition to even stricter limits. But with the enthusiastic blessing of the most influential Catholic church in Europe, the government decided to persevere by resorting to judicial chicanery.