Poland: leading MEPs against the de facto ban on abortion

  • Biased judgement drives women into illegal abortion, with massive health risks
  • Right to physical self-determination must be enshrined in European law
  • Ruling indicative of the state of the rule of law in Poland

Statement by Committee Chairs Evelyn Regner (Women’s Rights) and Juan Fernando López Aguilar (Civil Liberties) on today’s ruling that termination for foetal defects is unconstitutional.

Following a legal challenge against the 1993 law permitting abortion in cases of severe foetal disabilities by MPs from the ruling Law and Justice party, Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal has declared the law unconstitutional.

Evelyn Regner (S&D, AT), Chair of the Committee for Women’s Rights and Equality, stated: “Women have a right of self-determination over their own bodies. Poland already has one of the strictest abortion laws in Europe, which is why today’s decision is a particularly severe attack on Polish women and their rights, as well as on all women in Europe. A ban leads above all to illegally performed abortions, with massive health risks for women. This was the case 100 years ago and is unfortunately still true today. The attack of the Polish government towards women and LGBTIQ persons is becoming more and more dramatic. We stand in solidarity with the many Poles against this backward-looking and inhuman policy. Women’s rights are human rights and the right to physical self-determination must be enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights”.

Juan Fernando López Aguilar (S&D, ES), Chair of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, commented that “this decision by the tribunal shows again that the attacks on the rule of law, democracy and fundamental rights in Poland is a matter of most serious concern. The right of every woman to decide on her own personal choice in such cases is no longer guaranteed in Poland, as this ruling on women’s abortion rights shows. The Polish government’s nomination of judges all coming from the same party facilitated this decision which follows the PiS’ statements in the last months. A women’s right to decide over her own body should not be unconstitutional in any country of the European Union.”

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