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Poland Bans Almost All Abortions In New Ruling

Poland Bans Almost All Abortions In New Ruling

Poland has long been known for having some of the strictest abortion laws in Europe, but now its Constitutional court has ruled for an almost outright ban.

The tribunal ruled on Thursday (23rd October) that terminations are only to be allowed if the mother's health is at risk, or in cases of rape or incest - conditions which account for 2 per cent of those who underwent legal terminations in recent years.

Abortions for foetal abnormalities - which is most common reason for termination in Poland - now officially violate the country's Constitution.

The ruling affects 98 per cent of women in Poland (Credit: PA)
The ruling affects 98 per cent of women in Poland (Credit: PA)
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The tribunal's Chief Justice, Julia Przylebska, said that allowing such abortions was akin to "eugenic practices with regard to an unborn child, thus denying it the respect and protection of human dignity."

She added that aborting a pregnancy due to the health of the foetus was "a directly forbidden form of discrimination."

Despite Poland being one of Europe's most Catholic countries, recent polls indicate that the general public had no desire for stricter laws.

However, the ruling Law and Justice party (PiS) were pressurised by Bishops and Catholic groups to impose the restrictions.

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The decision has been met with much backlash from rights groups, with The Council of Europe's commissioner for human rights, Dunja Mijatovic, saying it was "a sad day for women's rights".

"Removing the basis for almost all legal abortions in Poland amounts to a ban and violates human rights," she wrote.

People are protesting the new ruling (Credit: PA)
People are protesting the new ruling (Credit: PA)

"Today's ruling [...] means underground/abroad abortions for those who can afford and even greater ordeal for all others."

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The court ruling could allow for lawmakers from the Law and Justice party, which is currently governing, to approve draft legislation that would ban abortions of foetuses likely to be born with congenital birth defects.

The majority of the court's judges were also nominated by the rightwing party ahead of the ruling.

What a sad day for the women of Poland.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Life News, News, abortion

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Joanna Freedman

Joanna is a journalist at Tyla with a particular interest in highlighting women's issues and telling inspiring first person stories. She's also their resident foodie, and loves covering exciting new beauty launches, too. Contact her at [email protected]