On January 27th, the Polish government announced that their constitutional court’s decision to further restrict abortion was finally going into effect after months of delay due to opposition protests last fall. The October ruling declared that a 1993 law, which legalized abortions in cases of fetal abnormalities, is unconstitutional since “an unborn child is a human being” and is therefore entitled to the right to life guaranteed by the Polish constitution. The nation’s ruling Law and Justice party firmly supported the decision. MP Bartłomiej Wróblewski explained that “The right to life is fundamental, because without life, no other human rights have meaning.”
Sadly, staunch opposition to the core human right to life was on full display after the government’s decision. Pro-abortion protestors demonstrated raucously throughout Poland’s major cities. Chants of “abortion on demand” were heard while signs were held up that bizarrely claimed “My government is killing me” and “This is war.” One opponent of the pro-life ruling told reporters that the ongoing struggle is “essentially a fight for our rights and our lives.”
In response, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki declared: “In order to have the freedom of choice you first must be alive” while condemning the demonstrations that were rife with “aggression, vandalism, [and] attacks.” Thankfully, Morawiecki and his government have stood strong against pro-abortion forces and have won a tremendous victory for life in Poland. Now, the justification used for 98% of the country’s abortions in 2019 is no longer valid.
Even prior to this decision, Polish pro-life activists had established a long track record of success (especially by European standards) as the heavily Catholic nation already possessed among the most favorable legislation on the continent for the unborn. In fact, the only EU member-state to have stricter abortion laws is the small Mediterranean island-country of Malta.
Unsurprisingly, EU officials are furious about this decision, as Poland continues to oppose the EU’s radical social agenda. Brussels strongly condemned the verdict and declared that access to abortion is an “essential aspect of women’s reproductive healthcare” while asserting that the ruling is evident of a “systemic collapse of the rule of law in Poland.” Those wondering how the EU parliament could have the audacity to make this nonsensical claim against a member state should remember that a legal decision seems to only be considered legitimate when the promoters of far-left social policy get their way.
Similarly, former Polish Prime Minister and EU Council President Donald Tusk, who now leads the powerful European People’s Party, declared the need to restore “democratic order” in Poland and “save democracy from Law & Justice”. Of course, his words imply that it is not democracy when the other side wins. In light of Tusk’s stunning comments, it should be noted that the socially conservative ruling party won both the EU and Polish parliamentary elections in 2019 by a comfortable margin and was victorious in the Presidential election just last year. Undoubtedly, Law and Justice has a mandate and responsibility to defend traditional values and the pro-life cause in particular.
Overall, the constitutional court’s ruling and the government’s implementation of the decision are both courageous moves in defense of the unborn and this should be celebrated as a major victory for life on a continent which has extremely permissive abortion laws. Yet, there are formidable obstacles ahead for the Polish pro-life movement and the ruling government as they must remain steadfast in the face of growing pressure from Brussels and domestic opposition.