‘Declaration of War’: Protesters in Poland Vow to Fight Abortion Ban


The Constitutional Tribunal, the country’s top court, which issued the ruling, said that “human life has value in every phase of its evolution, and as a value, the source of which is in the constitutional laws, it should be protected by lawmakers.”

Far-right lawmakers and supporters of the ban welcomed legal enforcement of the ruling.

Abortion from fetal abnormalities should be prohibited, said Beata Kempa, a Law and Justice member of the European Parliament, adding that she had been upset by discussions in the European Parliament on the issue. “Nobody at all mentioned the right of a child to live.”

Anita Czerwinska, a spokeswoman for the Law and Justice party, described the protests as “a cynical battle against the government.”

Even before the tribunal’s decision, Poland’s abortion laws were among the most restrictive in Europe, allowing for termination of pregnancies only in cases of rape or incest, a threat to a woman’s life and fetal abnormalities. In practice, most legal abortions — 1,074 of 1,100 performed in 2019 — resulted from fetal abnormalities.

The right-wing Law and Justice party tried to implement a total abortion ban in 2016 and 2018, but backed off after mass demonstrations. This time, the government introduced the ban using the tribunal, which it effectively took over in 2016 as part of a judiciary overhaul that has been criticized at home and abroad.

The decision by the tribunal cannot be appealed.

“The only possible action is on the international level, through the European Court of Human Rights and the U.N. committees,” said Mr. Bodnar, the human rights officer. “On the national level, the only way this decision could be reversed is by changing the government.”


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