In Poland, the nation’s top court ruled Oct. 22 that a law allowing the abortion of fetuses with congenital defects is unconstitutional.
The ruling closes a loophole in Poland’s abortion laws that are among the strictest in Europe.
Poland is a predominantly Catholic country, and the challenged law was enacted in 1993 as a compromise between the Catholic Church and state authorities.
The law allows abortion when a pregnancy endangers a woman’s health or life, or results from rape or another illegal act, and also in the case of congenital defects.
Only the congenital defects provision was challenged.
‘Protection of life’
Health ministry records in Poland show that 1,110 abortions were performed in the country in 2019, mostly because of fetal defects. However, even before Thursday’s ruling, many Polish women sought abortions abroad.
Those in favor of removing the congenital defects provision of the abortion law argued that the provision violates a constitutional provision that calls for protecting the life of every individual.
The court argued that such abortions amounted to eugenics. And in justifying its decision, the court said “there can be no protection of the dignity of an individual without the protection of life.”
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