Abortions plummeted in Poland last year as consequence of constitutional verdict takes effect

The drop in legal abortions in Poland is the result of the Constitutional Tribunal verdict in 2020 on eugenic abortion

editor: Grzegorz Adamczyk
author: Rzeczpospolita

Poland witnessed a sharp decline in legal abortions across the country last year as just 107 legal terminations of pregnancy were recorded, 10 times fewer than in 2020, data acquired by Rzeczpospolita daily showed.

The significant drop in legal abortions is the effect of a Constitutional Tribunal verdict of 2020 on eugenic abortion, which severely limited the circumstances in which a termination of pregnancy would be considered compatible with the Polish constitution.

Data accessed by Rzeczpospolita shows that all abortions in Poland last year were performed in cases where prenatal testing or other medical premises were indicating high probability of severe fetus impairment or incurable life-threatening illness of the fetus, and also when the pregnancy was a threat to the mother’s health or life.

By contrast, in 2020 there were 1,076 such procedures, 1,100 in 2019, and 1,076 in 2018.

On Oct. 22, 2020, the Constitutional Tribunal ruled that abortion due to the assumption of a serious disease or fetal impairment is unconstitutional. The ruling and its legal justification was published in Poland’s government Journal of Laws in January of last year.

“The Constitutional Tribunal maintained its opinion, that humans have the right to life from the moment of conception. The Tribunal also concluded that every human life has the same value; there are no better and worse human beings, each human has the same right to exist. The Polish legal system is based on this foundation of human civilization,” the ruling stated. “Termination of pregnancy results in deprivation of a child’s life,” it added.

In October and November 2020, a long series of pro-abortion and anti-government protests were carried out by the “Women’s Strike” in several Polish cities and towns due to the Constitutional Tribunal’s verdict on eugenic abortion. The protests often turned violent and resulted in clashes with the police and attacks on churches. The protesters demanded the government’s resignation and full access to abortion.

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