News Brief: Poland Enacts Restrictions on Abortion

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Poland recently passed a controversial law that bans abortion except in cases of rape, incest, or when there is a severe threat to the mother’s health.

This law was protested throughout the country, in which almost 2,000 abortions are estimated to be performed every year. According to one report, almost 400,000 people protested nation-wide.

The ban was upheld by the constitutional tribunal because descrimination against the unborn child as a result of illness or disability is unconstitutional.

The majority of abortions in Poland are performed because the unborn child is found to have an incurable disease or disability. According to a 2019 statistic, 1,074 of the total 1,110 abortions were performed for the above reason.

Abortion due to rape, incest, or severe threat to the mother’s health will remain legal in Poland. In 2019, only 33 abortions were performed because of a threat to the mother’s health, and only three due to rape or incest. This ban will significantly decrease the number of abortions nationwide in Poland.

An advisory was given to Polish legislators to use the words “mother” and “child,” not “fetus,” when discussing abortion issues.

The severe backlash seems to have delayed this order from being put into full effect. However, the Polish government has not backed away from their ruling.

Though this may have a small effect on Polish women, who can still seek abortions in neighboring countries, it is the first real step in returning to prolife policies worldwide.