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Ordo Iuris intervenes with the ECtHR in another series of abortion cases in Poland

Published: 28.07.2022

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• The Strasbourg Court receives many complaints about the ban on eugenic abortion in Poland.

• According to the applicants, the inability to undergo a eugenic abortion violates their right to privacy and the prohibition of torture.

• The vast majority of complaints come from women who are not even pregnant.

• The Ordo Iuris Institute submitted an amicus curiae brief to the ECtHR, in which it reminds that unborn children with disabilities also have the right to life.


Another series of complaints against the protection of the lives of unborn children in Poland was submitted to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. This is related to the judgment of the Polish Constitutional Tribunal of October 22, 2020, K 1/20, which ruled on the unconstitutionality of the so-called eugenic premise that allows an abortion to be performed in the event of a developmental defect in a child. Since then, the Strasbourg Court has received complaints from women who believe that the loss of access to eugenic abortion violates their right to privacy (Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights) and the prohibition of torture (Article 3 ECHR).

In the last six cases, complaints have been lodged by women who fear that if they become pregnant one day and their child turns out to be disabled, they will not be able to undergo an abortion. Neither of them are pregnant at the time the complaint is made.

The Ordo Iuris Institute, with the consent of the President of Section I of the ECtHR, submitted an amicus curiae opinion to the Court. The opinion recalled that there is no provision of international law that would mention the right to abortion, while there are many provisions that refer to the right to life, including for unborn children, such as the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, in which the preamble it is stated that "a child, due to its physical and mental immaturity, requires special care and care, including appropriate legal protection, both before and after birth". In addition, the previous jurisprudence of the Strasbourg Court was quoted, which clearly shows that states may limit access to abortion in the name of protecting public morality.

- Our Center for International Law constantly monitors cases brought to the Tribunal in Strasbourg, intervening to defend fundamental values ​​such as the right of every human being to life. The amicus curia role allows us to do this, in which we can submit legal observations to the Court on a question relating to the essence of each case. The wave of complaints about the ban on eugenic abortion in Poland is largely an artificially created phenomenon, because in the vast majority of cases they come from women who are not even pregnant. Meanwhile, in accordance with the provisions of the proceedings before the ECtHR, a complaint may only be brought by a person who has suffered a specific detriment. Meanwhile, most of the applicants complain about the hypothetical damage that may occur if they become pregnant one day and their child has a developmental defect. Recently, the Court has already started to reject the first complaints without substantive examination, as many applicants have ceased to respond to pleadings, which is the basis for striking a given complaint from the register, said Weronika Przebierała, director of the International Law Center of the Ordo Iuris Institute.

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