Today the media is fixated on the protests. Opinions and, from a conservative point of view, question the idea of abortion ever since the ‘Roe V Wade’ was overturned in the US. This overturning has led to a complete total ban on abortion in 15 out of 50 states in the US except for risk to a mother’s life. However, this same strictness could also be found in Polish abortion laws, which went one step further on 22nd October 2020 almost to ban abortion in its entirety.
After ending its communist rule 30 years ago, Poland has had quite staunch Catholic beliefs. Due to this, it had the strictest abortion laws in all of Europe. The only three conditions under which could legally abort included: foetal abnormality, a risk to the mother’s life and cases of incest and rape.
There was an attempt made previously by the ruling right-winged party that came into power in 2015, Law and Justice ( Pis), to imprison women and doctors for aborting pregnancies under the three legal conditions in 2016. The protest now called ‘Black Monday’ successfully denied the government’s attempt to ban abortion in its entirety.
However, the government tried again, this time by rigging and politically influencing the Constitutional Tribunal of Poland. This tribunal is made to check the government’s power and is supposed to be an independent body. However, the system became corrupt and unequivocally allowed the government free reign, which led to the banning of abortion under the condition of Foetus abnormality.
This condition is the reason for 98% of abortions in Poland. This is a ‘benign’ way of banning abortion nationwide. Regardless of 79% of Polish citizens not in favour of this change in-laws, on 22nd October 2020, the tribunal found abortion under the condition of foetal abnormality “unconstitutional” and hence banned it in January of 2021.
In the largest protest ever since 1989, 100,000 young Polish men and women protested against this law. Many activists have also started to get Polish women in neighbouring regions in Europe for getting them aborted through pills or clinical treatments. NGOs such as Foundation for Women and Family Planning (F.E.D.E.R.A.) have estimated that 80 to 200 thousand Polish Women get their abortions done abroad or illegally compared to only 1,076 legal abortions in Poland in 2020.