Already, the country held some of the tightest restrictions in Europe but when the ruling comes into effect, women will only have the right to a legal abortion in the cases of rape or incest, or a threat to the life or ongoing health of the mother.
Abortion has effectively been banned in Poland after a court ruling was made yesterday to tighten the laws against terminating pregnancies in the case of fetal abnormalities.
Until now, abortions for fetal defects accounted for around 90 percent of legal terminations in Poland.
Hundreds of protestors gathered in Warsaw to condemn the decision early on Friday, carrying signs saying Strajk Kobiet, meaning women’s strike.
The decision, which was backed by 11 out of 13 judges, removed one of only three circumstances in which women have the right to abortions in the country.
Previously it was lawful to terminate a pregnancy when prenatal tests showed serious, irreversible damage to the foetus. Now, it is not.
Lawyer Kamila Ferenc called the decision ‘devastating’ and ‘the worst-case scenario’ for the women of Poland.
‘It is a devastating sentence that will destroy the lives of many women and many families,’ she told Reuters. ‘It will especially force the poor to give birth to children against their will.
‘Either [the babies] have no chance of surviving, or they have no chance of an independent existence, or they will die shortly after giving birth.’
The bill was first proposed in 2018 and was met with similar public protests.
According to recent estimates, around 100,000 women seek a termination abroad each year to get around what were already very tight restrictions.
The only other European country where laws are comparably tight is Malta, where abortion is banned entirely.