Poland delays implementing new abortion law amid huge protests

  It would leave only abortions in cases of risk to the woman’s life or crime — meaning rape or incest — allowed under Polish law.   The constitutional court ruled on October 22 that aborting fetuses with congenital defects violates the constitution, effectively further tightening what was already one of Europe’s most restrictive abortion laws.   Meanwhile, President Andrzej Duda, who is aligned with the government, has proposed a new law that would allow abortion of fetuses with life-threatening defects but ban them for disorders such as Down syndrome.   The ruling was scheduled to be formally published on Monday. Unpublished, it has no legal power. First published on November 3, 2020 / 11:22 AM Poland delays implementing new abortion law amid huge protests

November 3, 2020 / 11:22 AM
/ AP

Protests in Poland over abortion ban

Protests in Poland over abortion ban

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Warsaw, Poland — Poland’s right-wing government is delaying the publication and implementation of a high court ruling that tightens the abortion law and that has triggered almost two weeks of nationwide protests. A government official said Tuesday that the leaders are taking time to debate the contested ruling and find a solution. Protesters hold banners and shout slogans during the 12th day of protests against the Constitutional Court ruling on tightening the abortion law in front of the Archbishops Palace, November 2, 2020 in Krakow, Poland.   Morawiecki has appealed for talks with the protesters and opposition lawmakers to find a solution.   Soon after Law and Justice won power in 2015 and took steps to control the constitutional court, the government delayed publication of some of the court’s rulings, even by two years, and bowed only when pressured by the European Union leaders. Battle over abortion laws in Poland

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Experts on constitutional law say that delaying the publication of the ruling would be wrong because it would violate a legal provision that constitutional court rulings be published “without delay.”   “This is by far the worst option,” said Marcin Matczak, a law professor at Warsaw University.   With Poland roiled by the attempt to further restrict abortion, surveys show a large drop in support for the ruling conservative Law and Justice party, and for its leader, Deputy Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski. But this idea is seen as still too restrictive to many people and does not seem likely to win sufficient backing in parliament. The mostly young protesters have been disregarding the pandemic threat and a ban on public gatherings larger than five people intended to stop the spread of the coronavirus. “It boils down to this approach that if someone does not like a ruling by the Constitutional Tribunal, he may not publish it.”   The rulings are published by the government in the Journal of Laws. Getty

Massive daily anti-government protests have been held by hundreds of thousands of people ever since the ruling.   Women’s rights activists are critical of Duda’s proposal and Morawiecki’s invitation for talks, and are planning more protests this week.   “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,” said Michal Dworczyk, the head of Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki’s office.