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Judgment of the Constitutional Tribunal from 1997 concerning abortion in case of difficult living conditions or difficult personal situation

Published: 14.07.2022

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On August 30, 1996, the Parliament passed an amendment to the law on family planning, which allowed abortion when a pregnant woman is in difficult living conditions or in a difficult personal situation. It was necessary for the woman to submit a written statement and consult with a primary care physician or other authorized person than the one who was to perform the abortion. An abortion could be performed if the woman maintained her intention 3 days after the consultation. The amendment entered into force on January 4, 1997.


On May 28, 1997, the Constitutional Tribunal found that the provision introducing this premise was inconsistent with the constitutional provisions upheld by the so-called The Little Constitution of 1992, by the fact that "legalizes the termination of pregnancy without sufficient justification by the need to protect another value, right or constitutional freedom, and uses undefined criteria for this legalization, thus violating constitutional guarantees for human life. Moreover, in the justification to this judgment, he expressed the view that the Constitution of the Republic of Poland, adopted on April 2, 1997, confirms in Art. 38 the legal protection of human life. The constitutional basis on which the Constitutional Tribunal based its ruling was thus confirmed and clearly articulated in the [new] Constitution of the Republic of Poland ”. The provisions concerning this condition expired on December 23, 1997.





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