Design a site like this with WordPress.com
Get started

We Stand with the Women of Poland

 On October 22, the court was asked to rule on a provision of a 27-year-old law which allows abortions in cases of severe fetal deformity, including Down syndrome. This is cited for the roughly 1,000 legal terminations performed in Poland each year. Lawmakers with the ruling Law and Justice party were among those who sought the court’s review. They say they want to ensure foetuses with Down syndrome are allowed to be born. (Image: Reuters)
Protest on October 22, 2020 (Source: News 18)

AAC West appeal for Freedom of Abortion in Poland

Poland has been experiencing a huge protest movement around the country over the last month in 400 cities, including Warsaw which saw over 100,000 on the streets and in small rural towns. These demonstrations are led, mostly by women, in response to the latest ruling of the Polish Constitutional Tribunal outlawing abortion in cases of foetus malformation, which would further tighten their already restrictive legislation.

Abortions in cases of abnormalities of the foetus account for about 98% of legal abortions conducted in Poland.

Abortion Access Campaign West (AAC West) denounce the Constitutional Court ruling in Poland as inhumane, banning abortions on the grounds of fatal or severe foetal anomaly.                                                                

“Any legislation enacted on this basis will not prevent all those experiencing a fatal or severe foetal abnormality pregnancy from obtaining an abortion, but it will prevent some from obtaining safe and legal terminations, putting their own health and even their lives at risk. 

“This is particularly true for anyone forced to resort to dangerous abortion providers or methods if they do not have the financial means or freedom of movement to travel abroad to access terminations in other countries. There are already ‘underground’ abortions occurring in Poland, many of which are unsafe,” adds Galway based AAC West.

In response to the opposition movement, the conservative government passed a series of regulations in order to quell the movement, such as making gatherings of more than five people illegal. The politicisation of this issue by the Polish Government has reportedly led to discrimination and abuse of those protesting against the ruling. The demonstrations however, continue in defiance.

In an effort to diffuse the outcry, the Polish Parliament has now decided to delay turning the ruling into law, but many hospitals are already applying the more restrictive rules. Therefore, each Monday, gatherings and demonstrations are continuing to take place asking for free, safe and legal abortion. 

AAC West have contacted the President of the European Parliament, all Irish MEPs, the President of the European Commission and the European Equality Commissioner, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights along with our own Ministers for Health, Foreign Affairs, Equality and Justice. 

AAC West states:

“We have appealed to these politicians to take a stand on the recent abortion ruling in Poland that bans abortions on the grounds of fatal or severe foetal impairment, and to issue public statements on the matter. Also, we have asked that they use their political capacity to make representations to the Polish President, the country’s Government and their EU representatives, concerning what amounts to an attack on the human rights of the Polish population to essential health care.

“People in Poland should have a right to safe and legal abortion services to be provided in cases of fatal foetal impairment in line with recognised international human right standards. Poland has a legal obligation to uphold international standards under the ‘International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights’ and the ‘Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women’.”

AAC West brought the seemingly over-reaction by Polish authorities of the protesters to the attention of the politicians too, requesting that they remind the President and Government of Poland that the rights of all people participating in peaceful demonstration be upheld.

“AAC West felt compelled to take this action in international solidarity, because our own Irish experience has taught us first hand that the dignity, equality, privacy, health and lives of women and all pregnant people will be adversely affected if legislation is enacted in line with the Polish Court ruling. That is something that must be opposed”. 

Action by AAC West

The following letter was sent to the following:

  • President of the European Parliament
  • President of the European Commission,European Equality Commissioner
  • Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights
  • Govt Ministers for Health, Minister for Foreign Affairs
  • Minister for Equality (Now Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth – Roderic O’Gorman)
  • Minister for Justice (Helen McEntee)
  • All Irish MEPs

“Abortion Access Campaign West (AAC West) appeal to you in your political capacity to take a stand on the recent abortion ruling in Poland that bans abortions on the grounds of fatal or severe foetal impairment, and to issue a public statement on same. We also ask you to make representations to the Polish President, Government, and the country’s EU representatives, concerning what amounts to an attack on the human rights of the Polish population.

We denounce as inhumane the Constitutional Court ruling in Poland that bans abortions on the grounds of fatal or severe fetal anomaly.  Any legislation enacted on this basis will not prevent all women there having abortions in instances of fatal or severe fetal  abnormality, but it will prevent some of them from obtaining safe and legal pregnancy terminations, putting their health and even their lives at risk. 

This is particularly true for those women who are forced to resort to dangerous abortion providers or methods if they do not have the financial means or freedom of movement to travel abroad to access terminations in other countries. All women warrant access to the highest possible standard of health care.  

In line with recognosed international human right standards, women in Poland have a right to safe and legal abortion services to be provided in cases of fatal foetal impairment, as part of essential health care. Poland has a legal obligation to uphold international standards under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and theConvention on the Elimination of All Forma of Discrimination Against Women.

The politicisation of this issue by the Polish Government is reported to be leading to discrimination and abuse of those protesting against the ruling. AAC West are disturbed at the seemingly over-reaction of the Polish authorities to the thousands of people in Poland who have taken to the streets to protest against this abortion ruling, and who are demonstrating throughout the country in a variety of ways.  We ask that the President and Government of Poland be reminded that the  rights of all people participating in these protests must be upheld.

AAC West ask that you take action to protect the dignity, equality, privacy , health and lives of women who will be affected by legislation enacted in line with this Court ruling.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: