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One year after Poland’s anti-abortion ruling
One year after Poland’s anti-abortion ruling

One year after Poland’s anti-abortion ruling

It has been a year since Poland”s Constitutional Tribunal further tightened what was already one of the most restrictive abortion legislation in Europe.

On October 22, 2020, the court ruled it was unconstitutional for women to terminate their pregnancies even in cases of severe and irreversible foetal defects, leading to a near-total ban on abortion in the mostly Roman Catholic country.

The anniversary comes amid escalating tensions between the Polish government and Brussels over the rule of law. The same Constitutional Tribunal that curtailed abortion rights ruled earlier this month that Polish law reigned supreme over EU legislation in a move that has been described as a “nuclear strike” on the bloc’s legal order.

It came after rulings by the European Court of Justice said Poland’s new regulations for appointing judges breached EU laws and the principles of judicial independence.

“What happened last year was basically an example of what happens if a political power destroys the rule of law and destroys judicial independence,” said Marta Lempart, the co-founder of the Polish Women’s Strike movement, insisting that the ban on abortion came from an “illegitimate” and “politicised” tribunal.

A prominent voice in the country, Lempart has been the target of repeated death threats for leading demonstrations in favour of abortion, which have been the country’s biggest protests in its post-communist era.