Nyma E., Global News Co-Editor
On Wednesday, January 27, Poland’s courts implemented a near-total ban on abortions. This has sparked outrage among many Women’s rights advocates and their allies, leading to mass protests across the country.
A near-total ban on abortions was implemented in Poland on Wednesday. Abortions will only be performed under a very strict set of circumstances, including cases of rape or incest, or when the pregnancy threatens the life of the mother. However, even before this court ruling took place, Poland had very strict regulations surrounding abortions. Abortions were only permitted under cases of rape or incest, when the pregnancy threatened the mother’s life, or in cases of fetal abnormalities. Ninety-eight of abortions were conducted due to fetal abnormalities in 2019, leading to the vast majority of abortions being outlawed now.
The ruling made by Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal Court, the highest court in the country, was actually made in October. It is unclear why the ban suddenly went into effect on Wednesday. The ruling cannot be repealed.
The court supported their decision by saying, “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.”
Poland is a devout Roman-Catholic Nation, with the government having close ties with the Catholic Church. Many believe that this ruling was reached because of judges being loyal to the government, and therefore, the Church. However, the support for the Catholic Church amongst young Poles has reached an all-time low.
Large-scale protests are being seen in Warsaw and across Poland in smaller towns as well. Many protests have become very tense, with police requiring identification to leave the protest, and multiple arrests being made. However, protesters are breaking Poland’s COVID-19 laws about gatherings. Many of these protests have turned into more general anti-government protests, with the night of January 29 marking the third night of demonstrations. These are the largest-scale protests that Poland has seen since the 1980s Solidarity Movements that helped end communist rule.