The first reading of the “Stop abortion” bill (pl. Zatrzymaj aborcję) will be held again today in Sejm, the lower house of the polish parliament. The bill – which proposes repealing the laws which legitimate eugenic abortion – has been signed by over 830,000 Poles. In the analysis which was sent to the Members of the Polish Parliament, Ordo Iuris emphasizes that the Polish Constitution protects the life of every human being and does not make this protection dependent on age or health condition. This position has been consequently confirmed by the Constitutional Tribunal. Identical conclusions can be drawn from international treaties, which oblige Poland to provide protection of life to every human being – including the unborn.
The civic bill was proposed by the Committee of the Legislative Initiative “Stop Abortion” (pl. Komitet Inicjatywy Ustawodawczej “Stop Aborcji”) in November 2017 after collecting a record number of over 830,000 signatures. The bill proposes repealing the article 4a paragraph 1 point 2 of the Act of January 7th 1993 on family planning, protection of the human fetus and conditions for the admissibility of termination of pregnancy – the law which at present legalizes abortion due to suspected illness or disability of the child. This is one of the three conditions under which abortion is not penalized, often called the “eugenic premise”. Eugenic abortions comprise over 90% of abortions performed in Polish hospitals due to statutory exceptions.
As the first reading of the “Stop abortion” bill has been scheduled for the next Sejm session (April 15th and 16th), the Ordo Iuris Institute prepared a legal analysis which confirms that the bill is not only fully compliant with the Polish Constitution and international law which is in force in Poland, but it also repeals legal provisions which are incompatible with the Polish Constitution. The Constitution of the Republic of Poland guarantees protection of life of every human being and does not make this protection dependent on age (which includes irrelevance of whether one has already been born or not), health condition or life expectancy. Moreover, it imposes supporting the disabled (regardless of age) and forbids discrimination based on age or health condition. Eugenic abortion violates all of the above-mentioned resolutions of the Constitution.
Such opinion is confirmed by the Constitutional Tribunal, which has already ruled on May 28th 1997 (file reference number K 26/96) that “the value of human life which is a constitutionally protected legal right, including life in the prenatal phase of its development, cannot be differentiated”. In turn, in its judgment of September 30th 2008 (file reference number K 44/07), the Tribunal stated that “limiting legal protection of human life in order to protect values of lesser importance according the constitutional hierarchy, e.g. property and other property rights, public morality environmental protection or even protection of health of other people, would be absolutely unacceptable in a democratic state ruled by law, which implements the principles of social justice and protects life and inalienable human dignity”.
The Supreme Court is fully consistent with the position of the Constitutional Tribunal, as it consequently explains that there can be no “doubts that life and health of a human being from conception to natural death are protected values” in the Polish law. In 2008 the Supreme Court has confirmed that nothing stands in the way for the legislator to increase the scale and intensity of protection of human life – including an introduction of “uniform intensity of protection of life from the moment of conception”. Importantly, numerous prominent lawyers, including professor Andrzej Zoll, the former president of the Constitutional Tribunal and former ombudsman – pointed out that eugenic abortion is contrary to the Polish Constitution.
Furthermore, the obligation to legally protect human life directly results from international agreements biding Poland, such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966) or the Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989). Especially the latter strongly emphasizes the need to protect the rights of unborn children. Contrary to the often-repeated fake news, no international treaty obliges Poland to legitimize abortion in any respect, no treaty even implies such requirement.
It is true that some international bodies (including the UN committees) call on countries around the world to lower their standards of life protection and promote the ideological concept of ‘reproductive rights’ – contrary to international agreements which protect human rights. Their actions, however, are illegitimate and deprived of any legal force. They do not bind the member states and, most importantly, they are only an expression of the private beliefs of the members of these committees.
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