Abortion cannot be treated as a basic human right, says Polish academic

By Grzegorz Adamczyk
3 Min Read

In an interview for gosc.pl, legal expert and academic, Dr. Tomasz Snarski, commented on Emmanuel Macron’s proposal to include a right to abortion in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, and questioned whether such a right should even exist.

“I deeply believe that treating abortion as a human right is a misunderstanding. There cannot be a right to which involves depriving another human of their life. The most basic human right is the right to live,” Snarski stated, explaining that all other rights lose their meaning when the protection of life is not deemed the highest value.

The University of Gdańsk assistant professor admitted however that certain legal documents like constitutions can foresee exceptions from absolute adherence to the right to life. An example of this was the death sentence which was foreseen in the European human rights protection system during periods of war or as an exceptional criminal punishment for the most severe crimes following a just court trial.

Snarski emphasized that the death sentence was never treated as a human right. Moreover, the expert explained that a unique situation in which values are weighed, such as in the case of protecting the lives of other people, is not equivalent to declaring that there is a right to deprive someone of their life.

He underlined that such a situation should be limited and eliminated as much as possible, not the other way around.

“Given this perspective of human rights which I support, a right to abortion is simply incomprehensible. It is difficult to explain to oneself how anyone would have a human right such as that. The consequence is the statement that a fetus, a human prior to birth, is not a separate person and that means that it does not have its own life and a right to live and to protect that life,” he said.

Snarski stressed that such an outlook would negate the entire meaning of human rights in their current format. He pointed out that a human has a right to live no matter whether it was agreed upon in legal documents or not.

“A person has the right to live not because it was codified somewhere but because it stems from that person’s humanity,” he stated.

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