Court

Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal is scheduled to rule on Thursday on whether performing abortions due to foetal defects is legal under the constitution.

Should the tribunal find the existing law – which allows for terminations in case of a grave and irreversible defect or an incurable disease of the foetus – to be unconstitutional, it could pave the way for a quasi-total ban on abortions in Poland.

In 2019, this legal provision accounted for 97 per cent of the 1,110 terminations performed in Polish hospitals.

Abortion is also legal if the pregnancy poses a threat to the life or health of the mother or when it is a result of a prohibited act such as rape or incest.

Downs Syndrome accounted as justification for over 40 per cent of legal abortions performed in Poland last year.

Over 100 lawmakers who submitted the motion, mainly from the governing conservative party Law and Justice, argue that the current law de facto legalizes eugenics.

The current status of abortion legislation, often referred to as the ‘abortion compromise,’ was set in 1993. Since then, neither the supporters of liberalizing the law nor the proponents of further restricting access have succeeded in their efforts.

According to last year’s poll by IBRiS pollster, some 50 per cent of Poles support the current abortion legislation. Nearly 30 per cent would like the law to be liberalised, while another 15 per cent would like to see access to abortion restricted.

However, other studies suggest that over half the population would support on-demand abortion until the 12th week of pregnancy.

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