In the space of three days, Polish advocacy group had 700 calls from women seeking advice for abortion last week. They have been coming to hospitals to have abortions, usually because of fetal defects. However, many are just told to go home after Poland called a near-total ban on abortion on October 22. While women fight for the right to abort, lawmakers strongly oppose the request, which stirred up the protest.
The 98% of the women who seek abortions are because their baby has a fetal defect. The women who are turned down are left furious and lost; most could not take pills because their pregnancy is above 20 weeks, and the women knew that the baby would die shortly after birth due to the defects. These helpless women are left to either carry on with their pregnancy, or seek help from abroad. CNN states that “Poland’s abortion laws were already restrictive, even before the latest rule change. It is estimated that around 100,000 Polish women travel abroad each year for a termination.” This quote shows that women are having a lot of trouble getting the help they need, and even getting the right to abort.
After the new law was passed, the most protesters in a decade took part in the huge demonstration this week. However, lawmakers are still unmoved and states that carrying out abortions due to fetal defects was a violation to the unborn child’s right to life. “I think that the decision of Polish constitution is a major step towards full realization of human rights in our country,” Karolina Pawlowska, director of the Center of International Law at Poland’s Ordo Iuris Institute and a PhD student at the University of Warsaw, told CNN. “It’s about fetal defects and syndromes like Down syndrome, Turner syndrome or other conditions that are seen as a defect,” she added. “We of course know that many people with Down syndrome, that many people that are disabled, can live a life of satisfaction.”