Poland’s abortion dispute: the facts

Photo: V4 Agency

Left-wing activists protesting for women’s rights only wanted a pretext to justify their aggression and dismantling of Christian culture, Jerzy Kwasniewski, president of the Ordo Iuris Institute for Legal Culture has told V4NA. The legal expert pointed out that a recent ruling by Poland’s Constitutional Court does not endanger the lives of mothers, it only prevents abortion in case of foetal impairment that does not present any risk for the health of the pregnant woman.


“There is no new legislation [on abortion in Poland] as it is sometimes presented in liberal media,” Jerzy Kwasniewski, lawyer and president of the Ordo Iuris Institute for Legal Culture told V4NA.

Warsaw has seen a week of protests, backed by the entire opposition, over a ruling by Poland’s Constitutional Court that tightened abortion regulations. Protesters have damaged church buildings and defaced monuments with paint. Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki made a statement on the issue on Wednesday, pointing out that activists are using barbaric methods and destroying symbols that unite all the Poles.

Although the issue has received widespread coverage across the world in the liberal media, which tends to present Poland’s abortion law as a new legislation that suppresses women’s rights, Jerzy Kwasniewski points out that the law is far from new and there’s a much bigger violation in the background than opponents of the law would think.

In Poland, abortion has been generally banned since 1993 and it is only allowed in three cases: if the mother’s life is in danger; if the pregnancy is a result of a criminal act; and if there’s a high probability of a severe and irreversible foetal impairment of the child or incurable life-threatening disease. The latter is also called “eugenic abortion”. With its ruling announced on 22 October, the Constitutional Court merely reviewed the application of “eugenic abortion”, because of a tendency of serious volations based on the existing legislation’s wording, which allowed for a wide range of interpretions

In the view of liberal media outlets, the Constitutional Court has simply reinterpreted the previous law, banning the abortion of incurable and impaired foetuses from 28 October, a move that has triggered massive protests by leftist activists across Europe. The picture, however, is far more complex.

“The ambiguity of ‘incurable disease’ or ‘severe impairment’ was one of the reasons to declare eugenic abortion as a violation of the rule of law principle to the detriment of the principle of legal protection of human life,” Kwasniewski explains. “Eugenic abortion availability was broadened each year in order to include not only fatal impairments but also Down Syndrome or even limb deformation as reasons for legal abortion,” he points out. “What followed was intensive work by pro-life organizations and the Catholic Church that raised awareness to the legal discrimination of unborn children with disabilities,” he said.

Kwasniewski added that “our awareness of full value of life with disabilities is rising and discrimination associated with disabilities is morally rejected.” He also quoted the preamble of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which states that “the child, by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth.”

However, as the Catholic Church has also contributed to exposing the discrimination against children with disabilities, activists who call themselves feminists have damaged several churches, disrupted church services, and launched open attacks on the Church. Kwasniewski, however, sees not just this reason behind the attacks.

“Attacks on churches are in fact attacks on Christian heritage and identity as well as on natural order and law supported by the moral power of the Catholic Church in Poland,” the expert said, also pointing out that as riots – backed by the whole opposition – escalate into aggression, acts of vandalism and the coordinated desecration of churches, it has become increasingly troublesome to openly support them. “It is obvious, that the verdict of the Constitutional Tribunal serves only as an excuse for protests and street aggression under the hashtag #ToJestWojna (That’s a war).”

Despite the facts, MEP Gwendoline Delbos, known as the successor of Judith Sargentini, also called for the European Commission (EC) to take action to protect the rights of citizens.

Delbos would interfere in a country’s internal affairs despite the fact that EC Vice President Vera Jourova’s administration had previously told V4NA that “the Commission does not comment on national political developments.”

Vera Jourova administration says Commission does not comment on national political developments

At least this was their answer to questions posed by V4NA, which pertained to issues of equality and racism,…

It did not take long before EC President Ursula von der Leyen has also made a statement. Ms von der Leyen wrote that “Progress is hard won, but easily lost,” adding that “We should push forward, not backwards.”

Kwasniewski, however, was not taken aback by the intervention of EC officials, which he described as another example of interference by EC officials into issues that fall outside the European bodies’ remit. The expert also alluded to a European Court of Human Rights ruling, which said “it may be regarded as common ground between member states that the embryo/fetus belongs to the human race” and “requires protection in the name of human dignity.”

“So not only there is no EU primary or secondary law that constitutes legal basis for this kind of interference in internal affairs of member states, but there is strong indications that members states should provide proper legal protection of children in prenatal state of development,” Kwasniewski stated.