In Poland, virtual abortion ban goes into effect amid protests

Friday evening, January 29, the home of Jaroslaw Kaczynski, deputy prime minister and leader of the conservative national majority of the PiS (Law and Justice), was barricaded like a presidential palace on the approach of a coup. An impressive device, made up of a hundred police trucks and several hundred men, equipped with anti-riot equipment, blocked Mickiewicz Street for long hours, in the residential district of Zoliborz, in Warsaw. The image is not new, and it has become a symbol. Since the Constitutional Court rendered, by a judgment of 22 October last, almost illegal abortion in Poland, the authorities fear that the social situation will degenerate.

In front of the police, the demonstrators were however not more than 5,000, having crossed the capital from the city center, in the snow and the cold. A mobilization far from the 100,000 demonstrators of October 31 and massive rallies that were held several times a week throughout the month of November. The day before, Wednesday January 27, the Constitutional Court had revived the powder by publishing the details of its judgment, resulting in the publication of the decision in the Official Journal.

Manipulating religion

Under this judgment, voluntary termination of pregnancy (abortion) due to a serious malformation of the fetus, called by anti-choice movements “eugenic abortion”, is declared contrary to the constitution. This case constituted almost all of the 1,000 legal abortions recorded each year in Poland. At present, abortion will only remain legal when the mother’s life is threatened and the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest. Associations fighting for women’s rights denounce a “New war” declared by the authorities and a judgment written by “Priests, not jurists”.

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The overwhelming majority of jurists denounce, for its part, a judgment teeming with errors on the procedure as well as on the substance. Starting with the fact that the Constitutional Court, the highest legal body in the country, is an institution with widely contested legitimacy, since the barely elected majority of the PiS took, in 2016, control of the institution, including appointing judges who did not have to sit there. The President of the Tribunal, Julia Przylebska, is a faithful among the faithful of Jaroslaw Kaczynski, and the wife of the Polish ambassador in Berlin.

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