In October, the highest court in Poland ruled that killing preborn babies in abortion because of a prenatal diagnosis is unconstitutional. Poland was already the most Pro-Life country in Europe. Now, abortion is only legal in the extremely rare cases of rape or incest or when the pregnancy is an immediate threat to the mother’s health (although intentionally killing the preborn child to save the mother is never necessary).
With these strong Pro-Life laws, abortions for disabilities or genetic abnormalities account for 98% of abortions in Poland. The recent court ruling means that Poland is closer to being abortion free.
Earlier this year, Poland’s parliament debated a bill that would have banned abortions in cases of fetal abnormalities. At the time, Poland’s President Andrzej Duda expressed support for the bill, saying, “I am a strong opponent of eugenic abortion and I believe that killing children with disabilities is frankly murder. If the plan finds itself on my desk, I will in all certainty sign it.”
However, following the court ruling, Poland has faced intense international backlash and protests. Despite his strong Pro-Life stance earlier, Poland’s President Duda introduced a draft amendment that would legalize abortion in cases of potentially severe health problems for the child, so-called “lethal defects.” A statement on the proposed amendment read, “It is an extremely delicate and painful situation for every mother, for every parent. In the case of lethal defects, the death of the child is inevitable. The protection of his life is therefore beyond human power.”
The reality is that a child’s potential health challenges does not remove the Right to Life. Often, doctors cannot accurately predict how a child will develop and what challenges she may face. Even for cases in which, tragically, the child is stillborn or lives for only a short time after birth, violently ending the life of that child before birth does not protect the child or the family from suffering. There are life-affirming ways to care for the mother and child from conception to natural death.
Angry anti-Life activists have taken to the streets carrying signs, some reading “To wojna” (“It’s war”). Anti-Life protestors have taken on illegal and violent tactics, including attacking priests and beating Pro-Lifers with batons. Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets to demand the legalization of killing babies with disabilities. For a nation with such a strong Pro-Life legacy, these demonstrations are surprising.
In an interview, Karolina Pawłowska, the Director of Ordo Iuris’ Center of International Law, explained the origins of the increasing anti-Life radicalism in Pro-Life Poland. She said, “They [the protesters]have large financing from foreign countries, from foreign organizations, from the Open Society Foundation, George Soros, and, of course, International Planned Parenthood. The financing involved in creating this [pro-abortion] movement has been huge, and that is why they are becoming larger.” As the world saw with Ireland, once a strongly Pro-Life country that voted to legalize elective abortion in 2018, international pressure can infiltrate and erode even the strongest Pro-Life cultures.
Pawłowska explained that young Poles marching in protests do not understand what they are fighting against, saying, “They [young protesters]are convinced that it’s something against women, and they don’t know anything more. They don’t want to know anything more because they are manipulated by this emotional propaganda.”
The international abortion lobby wields power through lies and manipulation. When the truth about abortion is in the open, very few anti-Life activists are radical enough to openly support the violent killing of defenseless preborn babies. Following the recent ruling in Poland, protesters are demanding that preborn babies who may have a disability, such as Down syndrome, can still be killed for no other reason than a possible abnormality, a truly barbaric position.
Pawłowska offered a hopeful perspective on the experience in Poland, saying, “I believe this ruling of the Constitutional Tribunal can be an inspiration for other countries to go down the same path.” Pro-Lifers around the world have been inspired. Texas Right to Life has been fighting for years to defend preborn babies who may have a disability through the Preborn Nondiscrimination Act (PreNDA). This is the next step in expanding protections for preborn lives and ending the atrocity of abortion, and Poland certainly is an inspiration.