The move to further ban abortions was followed for months by Poland’s democratic government, and created a climate of fear among women’s rights activists and human rights monitors.
About 98% of abortions in Poland were performed as a result of a fetal defect, which means that all termination procedures in the country are banned by the ruler. Campaigners said on Thursday that even if they knew the baby would not survive childbirth, it could force women to carry the baby.
The Constitutional Court’s ruling on Thursday marks the first change in Polish abortion law since 1993, but it comes after years of efforts by the government to reduce the use of termination.
The council was condemned by Europe’s human rights commissioner, Dunja Mijatovich, who called Thursday a “sad day for women’s rights.”
Mijatovich tweeted, “Removing the basis for almost all legal abortions in Poland is tantamount to a ban and a violation of human rights.” “Today’s ruling by the Constitutional Court means abortion underground / abroad for those who can undergo the ordeal for all others.”
“There is now an effective ban on abortion in Poland,” Agnieszka Kubble, a sociology and human rights scholar at University College London, told CNN. “This should be read in the context of the broad right-wing discourse on abortion in Poland, that women cannot be trusted with the right to choose.”