He Constitutional Court of Poland has failed this Thursday that the Interruption of pregnancy by malformation of the fetus is unconstitutional, reducing the legal assumptions to rape, incest and serious risk to the health of the mother or irreversible damage to the fetus. Poland is one of the European Union (EU) countries where the right to abortion is more restrictive. The Law on family planning, protection of the human fetus and conditions for the termination of pregnancy, in force since 1993, allowed abortion only in three cases.
The court thus responded to the complaint filed three years ago by a group of parliamentarians from the ultraconservative and nationalist Law and Justice (PiS), the party that leads a coalition in Poland with an absolute majority. The lawsuit was forwarded to the Constitutional Court last year since the previous one had been suspended by the end of the previous legislature.
The plaintiffs considered that the abortion due to fetal malformation is a form of eugenics that does not respect the human dignity and therefore could not have a place in the constitution. The Constitutional Court, chaired by Judge Julia Przylebska, who took office by nomination from PiS, has ruled against this assumption.
The Constitutional is an institution questioned in Poland after the reform promoted by the current PiS government, to which Brussels has opened a sanctioning process for eroding the independence of the judiciary.
Political reactions have not been long in coming. Law and Justice Parliamentarians (PiS), the ruling party, and other conservatives celebrated the ruling. “Life has won! Life is the most important thing! “Deputy Artur Dziambor said on Twitter.
Much of the opposition, for its part, has criticized the Constitutional ruling. “The PiS court has banned abortion in Poland. Women in Poland will be tortured. They will have children with anencephaly, with spina bifida, without a heart, … children who will die in agony “, lamented the deputy of the leftist Razem Marcelina Zawisza. Former Polish Prime Minister and former President of the European Council Donald Tusk, of the liberal opposition, described the events as “political villainy”.
According to data from the Ministry of Health, in 2019, only 1,110 legal abortions were performed in Poland (with almost 38 million people). Of these, 1,074 (96%) were carried out due to fetal malformation.