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Polish women lodge a collective application to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasburg after the abortion-banning ruling of the Constitutional Tribunal



We are reprinting an article from our member organisation, Federation for Women and Family Planning, that has undertaken numerous steps to act against Polish Constitutional Tribunal’s ruling on abortion, issued back in October. 

Together with cause dedicated lawyers, we (Federation for Women and Family Planning) are starting an action entitled Women’s collective complaint (Skarga Kobiet). Civic Initiative Women’s Collective Complaint (Inicjatywa Obywatelska Skarga Kobiet) and the Federation for Women and Family Planning developed a model application to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg (ECHR). It is a complaint against violation of rights guaranteed under the European Convention of Human Rights, which is in force in Poland. Anyone in the reproductive age who may become pregnant is a potential victim of the “Constitutional Tribunal’s ruling” (“CT’s ruling”) on abortion of October 22, 2020.

After 22 October 2020, we were contacted mainly by people whose right to terminate pregnancy was violated because of the “CT’s ruling”. Many hospitals in Poland apply this ruling as if it was binding, despite the lack of its publication in the Journal of Laws. Thanks to the interventions of Federation’s lawyers, in most of cases fears of hospitals and doctors were overcome and necessary health services were performed.

In the same period of time, we were approached by three women who changed their life plans due to the “CT’s ruling”. They are conscious of the fictive character of the so-called abortion compromise in Poland and the weight of the upcoming restrictions of the anti-abortion law. Because of these conditions they’ve decided to give up even on trying to become mothers in Poland. The lack of real access to abortion and no right to terminate pregnancy due to foetal abnormalities create a risk to their health, life and family life. These women refused to take this risk. Although none of them needed abortion at the time, they are potential victims of the “CT’s ruling”.

There may be more people like these three women in Poland. That is why we have decided to support all Polish women of reproductive age who could become pregnant, and whose right under the European Convention on Human Rights would be threatened by the “CT’s ruling”. In our opinion, the “CT’s ruling” above all violates the principle of respect for private and family life. Moreover, we consider that forcing women to carry on with the pregnancy in the event of foetal abnormalities constitutes a breach of the prohibition of torture. Poland is a party to the Convention, so we want this dangerous and most of all uncertain situation to be assessed by the ECHR.


Source: Federation for Women and Family Planning

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