Poland Delays Abortion Ban Amid Nationwide Protests
Poland’s government has postponed its decision to ban almost all abortions in the country, after the ruling sparked ongoing protests over the past two weeks.
Protests began in the country on October 23 after the court ruled in favour of the near-total ban on abortion.
The country already had some of the strictest rules relating to abortion in the whole of Europe, so its decision to further tighten these rules were not welcomed by many Polish residents.
Previously, Polish residents could choose to abort their baby if it was found to have any deformities, but this has since been deemed ‘unconstitutional’. Under the new ruling, abortions would only be allowed on the grounds of there being threat to the mother’s life, or if the pregnancy is a result of rape and/or incest.
According to data, these reasons have only made up for 2% of legal abortions in Poland in recent years.
Following the ruling on October 22, protests have broke out throughout Poland, including 100,000 people attending a pro-choice rally on Saturday, October 31 – believed to be the largest demonstration against Poland’s Law and Justice Party since it came into office. Many employers allowed their female employees to take the day off to take part in the demonstrations.
Evidently, these protests have not been in vain, as the Polish government is now delaying the publication and implementation of the new legislation, The Guardian reports.
Michał Dworczyk, the head of the prime minister’s office, said, ‘There is a discussion going on, and it would be good to take some time for dialogue and for finding a new position in this situation that is difficult and stirs high emotions.’
In addition to the delay, Poland’s prime minister Mateusz Morawieck has reportedly called for talks to happen with protesters and those in opposition of the new legislation, in a bid to find a solution.
Meanwhile, Andrzej Duda, Poland’s president, has suggested to amend the new laws so it will allow abortions to legally take place if the foetus’s defects are life-threatening. However, according to The Guardian, abortions would still be banned if the foetus was found to have non-life threatening conditions, such as Downs Syndrome.
While many would see the delay of the legislation as good news, others have expressed concerns that this technically violates a legal provision that says all constitutional court rulings should be published ‘without delay’.
Marcin Matczak, a law professor at Warsaw University, explained, ‘This is by far the worst option. It boils down to this approach that if someone does not like a ruling by the constitutional tribunal, he may not publish it.’
Hopefully an agreement between protestors and the country’s leaders will be met soon.
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