Poland’s Constitutional court has Thursday ruled that a law allowing abortion of fetuses is unconstitutional.The decision by the country’s top Court totally bans terminating pregnancies in cases where birth defects are found and will further limit access to abortions in Poland. Poland already has one of the strictest abortion laws in Europe.
Two judges in the 13-member court did not back the majority ruling.
The ruling came in response to a motion from right-wing lawmakers who argued that terminating a pregnancy due to fetal defects — the most common reason cited for legal abortions in Poland – violates a constitutional provision that calls for protecting the life of every individual.
The challenged law was introduced in 1993 as a hard-won compromise that also allows abortions when a pregnancy endangers a woman’s health or life, or results from rape or other illegal act. Even before Thursday’s ruling, many Polish women have sought abortions abroad.
In justifying its decision, the court said there can be no protection of the dignity of an individual without the protection of life. The verdict was announced by the court’s president, Julia Przylebska, a loyalist of the right-wing government.
Police guarded the court’s building as groups of pro-abortion rights and anti-abortion activists gathered outside as the verdict was announced.
Abortion rights groups held demonstrations earlier this week and international human rights organizations had argued against further restricting abortions.