Abortion Legal in Poland

Yet « the Polish example shows that medical abortion with pills and feminist support networks can help [women] survive such difficult times, » said Natalie Broniarczyk, another member of the abortion dream team. « This is what the authorities are most afraid of, » she added. In Poland, only about 1,000 legal abortions are performed each year. The exact number of illegal abortions performed is unknown, but reproductive health organizations estimate that this number is between 10 and 100 times higher. AMOS: The change came in 1989 with the end of one-party rule and the first democratic elections. The Catholic Church, which had led the fight against communism, pushed for a ban on abortion. Parliament is committed. In 1993, the law received broad support. There were three exceptions: when a woman`s life is in danger, the pregnancy results from rape or incest, or the fetus is damaged. And this was by far the majority of statutory dismissals.

Poland is one of the most Catholic countries in Europe. Although the Catholic Church is against abortion, polls show that a majority of the Polish population would prefer it to be easier to have an abortion in Poland. [16] However, in 2020, bishops and lay Catholic groups pressured the ruling Law and Justice party to enact a stricter law. This included preventing abortions for fetal abnormalities, which accounted for 98% of all abortions at the time. [17] The Law and Justice Party supports traditional Catholic values, but a change in the law was problematic. There was resistance both in parliament and in the streets. In 2016, about 100,000 people, mostly women, demonstrated to block any attempt to tighten the law. [18] Unlike other countries where abortion is banned, women in Poland are not punished for illegal abortion; Medical personnel who order and perform abortions are subject to criminal penalties, including imprisonment. For the above circumstance (1) the consent of a doctor is required, while abortions must be certified by a prosecutor given the circumstances (2) above. Parental consent is always required if the woman requesting an abortion is a minor. [7] AMOS: This is Rafal Kuzlik, a gynecologist, an obstetrician who treats Ukrainian rape victims.

He rejects the accusation that Ukrainian women came to Poland to have an abortion. It is legal in Ukraine. On the 22nd. In September 2016, on the day the bill to ban abortion was debated in the Diet, the Razem party organized a demonstration called « Czarny Protest », initiated by party member Małgorzata Adamczyk. This was part of a larger campaign in which people posted selfies in black clothes on social media labeled #czarnyprotest (#blackprotest). [31] In the days that followed, similar protests were held in other Polish cities such as Wroclaw, Łódź and Krakow. Thousands of people took part in the protests in different parts of Poland. [32] [33] On October 1, 2016, a large demonstration also took place near the Diet building, organized by Barbara Nowacka of Inicjatywa Polska, who had collected signatures under a civil law liberalizing Poland`s abortion law. [34] A 2013 survey found that 49% of Poles support the current abortion legislation, 34% think it should be liberalised and 9% think it should be more restrictive. [64] Some women seek abortions abroad, with Germany, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia being among the most popular destinations for abortions. The United Kingdom, Austria and Ukraine are also countries where some women go for abortions. [72] [73] On October 22, 2020, the Constitutional Court, composed mainly of judges appointed by the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, declared unconstitutional the law allowing abortions for malformed fetuses, thus banning most of the few official abortions performed in Poland.

[47] Street protests opposing the verdict took place on September 22. October and in 60 Polish cities on the night of October 23 and again on October 24 in the city centers, in front of the offices of the PiS and in front of the office of religious administrations. [48] On October 25, protesters staged sit-ins at Catholic churches and disrupted Sunday Mass in several cities, including Katowice and Poznan. [49] « The anti-abortion coalition in the United States is basically the same as the anti-abortion coalition in Poland, » said Agnieszka Graff-Osser, a Polish writer and feminist activist who works at the Center for American Studies at the University of Warsaw. She added: « It`s the same movement, the same strategy. » On the 22nd. In October 2020, the Polish Constitutional Court ruled that abortion is unconstitutional for eugenic reasons, as it discriminates against the unborn child on the basis of his or her state of health and violates the right to life of every human being, as protected by Article 38 of the Polish Constitution. [19] « Many people in both countries perceive judicial institutions as politicized, » said Courtney Blackington, an American Fulbright scholar associated with the Polish Academy of Sciences and the University of Warsaw who has studied the abortion crisis in Poland. « When the new [Polish] decision on abortion came out last year, there were activists who told me they couldn`t respect it because they felt it came from an institution that no longer respected the law. Abortion rights advocates say the figures reflect restrictions already in place that make it nearly impossible for Polish women to have a legal abortion, prompting them to seek an illegal abortion or perform an abortion abroad. The most important change was that of 1990, after the end of the communist regime, when the decree of 30 April 1990 made access to abortion more difficult. Another important change occurred in 1993, when the law was further strengthened and « difficult living conditions » were completely eliminated as a reason for abortions.

Therefore, abortions can only be legally performed in cases of serious threat to the life or health of the pregnant woman, as confirmed by two doctors, cases of rape or incest confirmed by a prosecutor and cases where prenatal tests confirmed by two doctors showed that the fetus was severely and irreversibly damaged. [12] In 1996, the law was amended to allow abortion for social reasons. [13] However, this law was repealed by the Constitutional Court in 1997. [14] Abortion was also imposed on pregnant Jewish prisoners in the Ravensbrück and Waltrop-Holthausen concentration camps. The Nazis had no ethical problems with abortion – as long as it was done on what they thought were the right people. (The Polish anti-abortion movement capitalized on this story with posters juxtaposing Hitler`s face with the image of an aborted fetus.) The leader of the right-wing Law and Justice party, Jarosław Kaczyński, has supported several anti-abortion laws over the years, including the latest proposal. « We will strive to ensure that even in pregnancies that are very difficult when a child is sure to die, severely deformed, women end up giving birth so that the child can be baptized, buried and have a name, » Kaczynski said, according to The Guardian. Not that the Polish communist government promoted abortion. On the contrary, the authorities hoped to strengthen the country`s reproductive capacity, believing that illegal clandestine abortions were more detrimental to women`s reproductive health than legal safe abortions. « The government is extremely conservative, and it has the majority, » says Kasia Strek, a photographer living in Poland and France whose images are part of her year-long project documenting the state of women`s reproductive health in Poland.

« They are able to change the laws and are close to the Catholic Church. I don`t know how far they`re going to go. (All the men and women in Strek`s photos asked to use pseudonyms for legal reasons.) In 1993, abortion was declared illegal, except in cases of rape or incest, risks to maternal health or foetal malformations. Then, in 2020, Poland`s Constitutional Court lifted the exception for fetal abnormalities called eugenic abortions by the country`s anti-abortion movement. The court`s president, Julia Przyłębska, said in a ruling that existing legislation – one of the most restrictive in Europe – allowing the abortion of malformed fetuses was incompatible with the constitution. Once the decision comes into force, abortion in Poland will only be allowed in cases of rape, incest or threat to the mother`s health and life, which account for only about 2% of the legal dismissals made in recent years. [20] Activist Justyna Wydrzyńska faces up to three years in prison for helping a victim of domestic violence access abortion pills. Amnesty International says this is the first case of its kind in Europe. Dr. Janusz Rudzinski is on the phone with a woman seeking an abortion while performing the procedure in Prenzlau, Germany, in March 2017. Independent UN human rights experts criticize the Polish court`s decision for an almost total ban on abortions because of fatal or severe fetal deficiency.