The Chairs of the Women’s Rights and Civil Liberties committees call for solidarity with protesters in Poland and reiterate their call for the Polish government to amend their abortion law.
The highly restrictive abortion law in Poland has now officially come into force, as the Constitutional Tribunal’s October ruling regarding abortion rights was published in the Polish Official Journal yesterday. Evelyn Regner (S&D, AT), Chair of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality is dismayed: “In Poland, misogyny reigns supreme. The de facto abortion ban pushed through by the Polish government interferes directly with women’s autonomy and physical integrity. It is an attack on fundamental and human rights and should be unthinkable in a liberal democracy in 2021. There is no place for such contempt for humanity in Europe and I stand with the protesters in Poland who are speaking out against this backward-looking policy.” Evelyn Regner adds: “Abortions happen whether or not they are allowed to. The Polish regulation drives women into acting illegally and puts lives at risk. In November 2020, the European Parliament “strongly condemned” the ruling of the Constitutional Tribunal, which is no longer independent. In addition, the Parliament has repeatedly demanded that the right to bodily self-determination be enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights and that EU funds be linked to criteria based on the rule of law. We must stand up against such attacks on fundamental human rights in the heart of Europe.” Juan Fernando López Aguilar (S&D, ES), Chair of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home affairs, also reacted: ‘‘As I have mentioned on previous occasions, this decision shows again that the attacks on the rule of law, democracy and fundamental rights in Poland need to be addressed urgently. The independence of the judiciary in Poland is no longer guaranteed, as this ruling on women’s abortion rights demonstrates. A woman’s right to make decisions about her own pregnancy without being prosecuted should not be unconstitutional in any country of the European Union.’’
In October 2020, the Polish Constitutional Tribunal outlawed abortion in cases of serious malformation of the foetus, deeming it “incompatible” with the Constitution. This had led to all abortions in Poland being prohibited except in cases of rape and incest, or when the mother’s life is in danger.