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In the years after the CT ruling, support for abortion fell - a comparative analysis of poll results

Published: 22.02.2023

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· The issue of abortion remains a subject of intense public debate in Poland. Over the past 30 years, numerous public opinion polls have been conducted on the subject.

· Their results show that support for eugenic abortion has declined since 1992, with an increase recorded only incidentally.

· The majority of Poles also do not support so-called abortion on demand and abortion motivated by the mother's difficult situation.

· A momentary increase in support for abortion was recorded after the 2020 Constitutional Court ruling banning eugenic abortion. Later, however, acceptance of abortion began to decline, for some grounds even reaching lower levels than before the ruling.

· The results of a survey commissioned by the left-wing portal differ significantly from the results of most polls. They show that support for abortion would be significantly higher in Poland.

· The Ordo Iuris Institute has prepared a comparative analysis of public opinion polls on the subject.

Over the past 3 years, several publications have appeared showing Poles' attitudes toward abortion. It is evident that due to the Constitutional Court's verdict of October 22, 2020, declaring the provision allowing the killing of unborn children suspected of being sick or disabled to be unconstitutional, the topic of abortion has become the subject of public debate in a special way. The Ordo Iuris Institute has prepared a comparative analysis of the results of polls on the permissibility of abortion, published by the state-run Public Opinion Research Center (CBOS), as well as the United Surveys center - commissioned by "Dziennik Gazeta Prawna" and the portal, and the IPSOS center - for the portal. Significantly, only CBOS has been conducting surveys of Polish society's attitude to abortion regularly since 1992. The other centers focused on checking society's attitudes in 2020, 2021 and 2022, that is, in the year of the Court's verdict and over the next two years.     

An analysis of the polls included in the study shows that the majority of respondents support the possibility of abortion in cases where the life or health of the mother is endangered and when the pregnancy is the result of a criminal act. The situation is different when abortion would be performed for other reasons. According to polls conducted since 1992 by CBOS, support among the adult population has declined for abortion due to the child's handicap (eugenic abortion), abortion motivated by the mother's difficult situation and so-called abortion on demand. In the case of abortion motivated by maternal hardship, there was a decline from nearly 50 percent support to less than 20 percent, while support for abortion "on demand" declined steadily from 1999 until 2020. Then there was some growth, which may have been due to the spread of false information after the CT ruling regarding the actual scope of the ruling.

In the years following the verdict, the United Surveys center conducted research on the subject for the Dziennik Gazeta Prawna. It shows an increase in support for abortion right after the ruling. However, in the following years, the number of people supporting abortion on various grounds decreased. For example, in the case of the permissibility of abortion for children with certain developmental defects, support even fell below the level before the Court's ruling.

The results of a survey conducted by IPSOS on behalf of the left-wing portal, which often presents pro-abortion views, differ significantly from most other polls. It shows that support for abortion would increase in recent years. In November 2022, abortion on demand was allegedly supported by as many as 70 percent of Poles.   

"Analyzed results of an opinion poll on abortion show that the majority of Poles generally accept abortion only in exceptional situations, which include, for example, a life-threatening condition of the mother. The survey for the pro-abortion, which found record high support for, among other things, abortion on demand - which is not confirmed by any other poll - raises questions about its reliability," commented Katarzyna Gesiak, director of the Ordo Iuris Center for Medical Law and Bioethics.

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