Polish government delays ban on abortion while protests continue

  • post Type / Advocacy News
  • Date / 5 November 2020

The Polish government was caught by surprise by the huge wave of protests and said that “it would be good to take some time for dialogue”, delaying the publication of the abortion ban ruling. Meanwhile, many thousands continue to demonstrate on the streets.

Two weeks ago, the Polish Constitutional Court ruled that abortions due to severe and irreversible foetal defects, which make up a majority of all legal terminations in Poland, are unconstitutional. This means that, if the ruling is confirmed and published, abortions in Poland will only be allowed in cases of rape, incest, or where the mother’s life is at risk.

The deadline for the publication of the ruling was last Monday (2 November). As of today, 4 November, the decision has still not been published and as such has not entered into force. According to experts, this is a legal trick to withhold publishing.

Nina Sankari, Vice-President of Humanists International’s Associate Kazimierz Lyszczynski Foundation, commented:

Nina Sankari

Nina Sankari

“Like the Black Monday protest in 2016, the current mass demonstrations managed to block the project of near-total ban on abortion in Poland for the time being. This time, however, the people claim more: women’s anger, largely supported by society, especially the youth, has been transformed into a huge anti-governmental and an unprecedented anti-clerical movement.

The Consultative Council, set up on Sunday 1 November, is working on the demands of political and social change, including the demand of a secular state.”

The President of the European Humanist Federation, Michael Bauer, commented:

Michael Bauer

Michael Bauer

“Autonomy of the body is a fundamental human right and this includes the possibility of abortion. Nevertheless, there are still more or less strict regulations in a number of European countries to prevent this. With its reactionary policy, the current Polish government goes far beyond what the population would be prepared to accept. This has been demonstrated by the huge protests against this clerical-conservative agenda.

It is encouraging that the government seems to be ready to give in, but there is reason to be observant of the developments and make sure that they are not just symbolic gestures. The proposed amendments do not go so far as to speak of a liberal abortion law that would be in line with humanist values. So the struggle is far from over.”

Last week, Humanists International called on humanists from all around the world to show their support to women in Poland by sharing photos on social media with the hashtag #WeStandWithPolishWomen.

Many humanists from all over the world responded to the appeal of Humanists International – here is how you can participate in the protest.

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