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Thread: Poland: Popular protests against abortion ban.

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    Abdülmecid I's Avatar ¡Ay Carmela!
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    Default Poland: Popular protests against abortion ban.

    In Poland, the Supreme Court decided to ban abortions in almost every case, with the only exceptions being pregnacies that either endanger the life of the mother or are the result of rape or incest. These newly imposed limitations essentially mean that almost the entirety of 1.000 annual abortions will be illegal. The vast majority of them (98%, according to the official data) were performed, because the fetus suffered from very serious defects, like Down syndrome, which guaranteed that it will either be dead at birth or will be impaired by permanent disabilities. The reasoning of the court's verdict relied on the assumption that the previous legislation violated the Constitution, by discriminating against the right of life, which is why many proponents of the ban labelled abortion as eugenics.

    However, the process began after an initiative of right-wing lawmakers of the dominant Law and Justice party. After all, Poland is notoriously lacking in judicial independence, which has been constantly declining in the late years, while the members of the Supreme Court are nominated by the government. Moreover, the party is notorious for its ultra-conservative position, opposition to abortion and secularism, as well homophobia. Its political power is based on the south-western part of Poland, where the Catholic Church enjoys remarkable influence and where several municipalities controlled by Law and Justice have declared themselves as LGBT-free zones. However, the abortion ban is much less popular in large urban centers, in the more prosperous provinces of north-western Poland and among the youth, which explains the large size of the protests, despite the issues caused by the measures taken for the pandemic crisis.

    In my opinion, the verdict of the judges is a reactionary move that drives Poland several decades backwards in a time, when other Catholic countries, such as Ireland, are finally progressing towards a modernisation of the abortion laws. Focusing on the abortions seems like a typical case of populist pandering to a certain demographic, in this case, Christian fundamentalists, at the expense of the affected groups. It will probably lead the most affluent women to visit abortion clinics abroad (e.g. Germany), while the healthcare system will probably be burdened with looking after abandoned, disabled babies and mothers at severe risk of dying, after having performed illegal abortions under unsafe circumstances.

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    Morticia Iunia Bruti's Avatar Primicerius
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    Default Re: Poland: Popular protests against abortion ban.

    I would like to add , that the ruling Law and Order Party (PiS) had made a judicial reform the last two years, which introduced a disciplinary chamber, which shall punish "public misbehavior" of polnish judges.

    The institutional court is now primarily comprised of PiS-appointed judges too.

    https://www.dw.com/en/polands-top-co...cts/a-55360700

    In my opinion Poland is transforming into an authoritarian state, which should be punished by cutting of EU-subventions.
    Last edited by Morticia Iunia Bruti; October 24, 2020 at 10:55 AM.
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    Default Re: Poland: Popular protests against abortion ban.

    Bummer. I have a soft spot in heart for Poland. I'm last in my (US) family that can trace all my relatives to a boat from Poland. I was kinda proud of how well Poland manged it emergence from from the Warsaw pact. But its hard turn to conservatism and anti democracy is a well sad.
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    Default Re: Poland: Popular protests against abortion ban.

    Regardless of your views on abortion, a legal regime that allows abortion in cases involving 'disabled' children while prohibiting it in all other cases represents blatant discrimination against the disabled. Besides the right-to-life issue, what kind of message does that send to the disabled in society, that their lives are somehow less valuable or more disposable than those of everyone else?

    We wouldn't tolerate this kind of abortion discrimination against any other class of humans, such as females or members of a particular ethnicity. Either allow all or prohibit all abortion; exempting one class of humans from the right to life reveals a clear prejudice against them.

    Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised by the news. The truth is, people with intellectual or physical impairments aren't subhumans, they're infinitely valuable human beings every bit as worthy of the right to life as 'normal' people. It's tragic that some people don't see this.

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    alhoon's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Poland: Popular protests against abortion ban.

    Well, if they allow abortions in the case of rape or in the case that it seriously endangers the mother's life it is not too bad. Abortions in the cases of severe defects should be allowed IMO. And severe defects doesn't include all cases of Down Syndrome but I am not sure medicine can tell whether the kid will be seriously impaired or have minor impairments.

    Quote Originally Posted by Prodromos View Post
    We wouldn't tolerate this kind of abortion discrimination against any other class of humans, such as females or members of a particular ethnicity. Either allow all or prohibit all abortion; exempting one class of humans from the right to life reveals a clear prejudice against them.
    The case as I understand it is that disabled children require specialized care and put an emotional and financial strain upon their families that healthy children do not. I am not saying you're wrong, I am saying I don't see this as a black & white issue.
    I.e. I don't think that it is the same to abort for example females and abort disabled kids as female children would not put such a strain to families but are much more able to thrive and prosper.

    But in the case of a child that has a severe impairment, a big cardio problem or respiratory problem, meaning the child would die within a few years after draining the family from rainy-day funds and bringing with it crushing sorrow at the loss of a child you've met and cared for for 3-4 years, it would be much harder to make such an argument.

    Quote Originally Posted by conon394 View Post
    Bummer. I have a soft spot in heart for Poland. I'm last in my (US) family that can trace all my relatives to a boat from Poland. I was kinda proud of how well Poland manged it emergence from from the Warsaw pact. But its hard turn to conservatism and anti democracy is a well sad.

    That is a bit confusing. You see, from my perspective and from the Poles that have come to my country and from my own visits to Poland... that was not the case. Poland didn't manage the emergence from the Warsaw pact as well as some Baltic states and it was never a bastion of progress and democracy, far from it.

    I see this reaction of the supreme court as a natural reaction to progress from a conservative country. Hence my initial reaction of "Oh, at least they allow abortion in the case of rape or life-threatening conditions". You see, I wouldn't be surprised if they banned pregnancies altogether and simply turned a blind eye towards the "good girls" visiting non-descript "offices" where certain "procedures" were taking place while bringing the hammer down mostly on the "less connected" women since, as far as I know, corruption is also rife in Poland. As far as I remember, Poland has one of the highest corruption indices in EU, higher than even my country.
    Last edited by alhoon; October 24, 2020 at 01:50 PM.
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    Morticia Iunia Bruti's Avatar Primicerius
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    Default Re: Poland: Popular protests against abortion ban.

    Its easy to talk about right of life, if you haven't the daily psychological and financial burden of a life-long care for severe disabled children.

    Even worse if you have to raise up some healthy children additionally, as their interests must come after those of the disabled child.

    Forcing parents to still raise up such a child without hope of at least partial normal life for them is inhuman and selfjust pharisee behaviour.
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    Default Re: Poland: Popular protests against abortion ban.

    Why do people have to be so extreme on this issue? The public debate seems to be dominated by those who would either a) allow all abortion, including murdering newborns because "muh body", and b) ban all abortions, because Jesus. It's so tiresome.


    Quote Originally Posted by Prodromos View Post
    We wouldn't tolerate this kind of abortion discrimination against any other class of humans, such as females or members of a particular ethnicity. Either allow all or prohibit all abortion; exempting one class of humans from the right to life reveals a clear prejudice against them.
    Disabled people are not a sex or an ethnicity though. Besides, it's not like we're herding people into camps (at least not in the EU and not in the current day). IMO it doesn't even make a lot of sense severely disabled person (such as someone afflicted with down syndrome) who's already been born to be campaigning against abortion of severely disabled fetuses. It's not like they share an ethnicity or even an ideology.


    Quote Originally Posted by Morticia Iunia Bruti View Post
    Its easy to talk about right of life, if you haven't the daily psychological and financial burden of a life-long care for severe disabled children.
    Exactly. For most people, even raising healthy children is a huge commitment. I can see why one would want to legislate against aborting healthy fetuses (provided they're not the result of rape or incest), but this kind of abortion ban casts too wide a net and might just have the opposite effect of what was intended. People might have illegal, dangerous abortions, or simply avoid the issue by emigrating or not having any offspring at all. None of those scenarios are desirable for the Polish government.

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    Mithradates's Avatar Campidoctor
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    Default Re: Poland: Popular protests against abortion ban.

    Nobody is forcing the parents to raise those children themselves.

    Aborting children with Down-syndrome is totaly not eugenics, no sir!
    Might as well extend this to useless elderly family members too or to everybody else who happen to be a burden on their families.
    What a disgusting thread.

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    Legio_Italica's Avatar Lost in Limbo
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    Default Re: Poland: Popular protests against abortion ban.

    Treating abortion as a civil rights issue has always been puzzling to me (if you don’t want to have a baby, don’t have unprotected sex. Problem solved). Allowing it in the case of rape or incest or medical danger to the mother’s life is the only possible balance to the civil liberties of all involved. Is the premise here that people should be able to kill fetuses whenever and however they want, and anything less is “reactionary?” I don’t get how the ruling here is regressive or even conservative. Are people in Poland not allowed to surrender unwanted babies for adoption?

    The vast majority of women surveyed in US studies report personal circumstances unrelated to health or rape as their reason for getting an abortion. “Possible” personal or fetal health concerns were cited as the primary reason in 12-13% of cases in this study:

    https://www.guttmacher.org/journals/...e-perspectives

    If US data is representative, most women get abortions simply because they want to, not because the baby is known to be disabled. People who support abortion on demand need to just admit they are ok with people killing fetuses just because they want to, and stop appealing to these catch 22 scenarios to hide from their own position.

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    Default Re: Poland: Popular protests against abortion ban.

    Not sure how could US figures be representative, since, as I already underlined in the OP, prior to the ban 98% of the abortions in Poland were performed, because the fetuses suffered from serious defects. The reasons for this discrepancy is that in Poland, access to abortion was drastically curtailed since the collapse of the People's Republic: It allowed abortion in cases of the mother's life being in jeopardy, incest, rape and serious health issues of the fetus. As explained in the OP, the Constitutional Court's verdict removed the last requirement, which means that abortions are forbidden, even if the fetus is guaranteed to die a short time after its birth, with all the emotional and financial cost that this might entail for the family. So, all the talk about unprotected sex and people killing fetuses whenever they want is completely irrelevant in the case of Poland.

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    Legio_Italica's Avatar Lost in Limbo
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    Default Re: Poland: Popular protests against abortion ban.

    And? Prenatal tests from at least 2 doctors confirming serious and irreversible birth defects was one of only a few legally valid reasons for abortion in Poland. Obviously the vast majority of legal abortions would therefore fit legal reasons. It is therefore meaningless to stress that legal abortions occurred for legal reasons. Hence I brought up US data to provide context for why women get abortions in a context where they are legally free to do so. The only reason that context would be irrelevant is if legal abortion ought to be out of the question. I’m sure that’s not what you’re arguing.

    According to Wiki, 65% of Poles consider abortion immoral. If the point of the OP is to argue that fetuses deemed to be a financial burden to their family should be eligible for euthanasia, I’m sure that logic can be carried to its conclusion for the sake of the same argument. If the point is that the healthcare system in Poland places a heavy financial burden on expectant parents, that would be a topic separate from this legal ruling altogether.

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    Default Re: Poland: Popular protests against abortion ban.

    So, Poland wants to force teenagers into motherhood?
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    Default Re: Poland: Popular protests against abortion ban.

    The example used in the OP of someone suffering from "very serious defects", to the point that it would be merciful to kill them, is a person with Down syndrome:

    Quote Originally Posted by Abdülmecid I View Post
    These newly imposed limitations essentially mean that almost the entirety of 1.000 annual abortions will be illegal. The vast majority of them (98%, according to the official data) were performed, because the fetus suffered from very serious defects, like Down syndrome, which guaranteed that it will either be dead at birth or will be impaired by permanent disabilities.
    I don't think this is an accurate understanding of reality. The average life expectancy for a person with Down syndrome is nearly 60 years, and only about 5% will die by age 1. The overwhelming majority of people with Down syndrome report being happy and fulfilled.

    Self-perceptions from People with Down Syndrome

    Positive attitudes prevail within families of people with Down syndrome - ScienceDaily


    Down Syndrome: Facts, Statistics, and You - healthline

    The Truth About Down Syndrome - The New York Times

    Studies have suggested that families of these children show levels of well-being that are often greater than those of families with children with other developmental disabilities, and sometimes equivalent to those of families with nondisabled children. These effects are prevalent enough to have been coined the “Down syndrome advantage.”

    In 2010, researchers reported that parents of preschoolers with Down syndrome experienced lower levels of stress than parents of preschoolers with autism. In 2007, researchers found that the divorce rate in families with a child with Down syndrome was lower on average than that in families with a child with other congenital abnormalities and in those with a nondisabled child.

    In another study, 88 percent of siblings reported feeling that they themselves were better people for having a younger sibling with Down syndrome; and of 284 respondents to a survey of those with Down syndrome over the age of 12, 99 percent stated they were personally happy with their own lives.

    Researchers (including one of us) have found that children and young adults with Down syndrome have significantly higher “adaptive” skills than their low I.Q. scores might suggest. Adaptive behavior is a measure of how well people are functioning in their environment, such as the quality of their day-to-day living and work skills. A paper published this week in the American Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities suggests that the Down syndrome advantage may arise from these relatively strong adaptive skills.
    Last edited by Prodromos; October 24, 2020 at 04:52 PM.
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    Default Re: Poland: Popular protests against abortion ban.

    People with cancer also might express that they appreciate life much more than people with no cancer. It doesn't mean we should suddenly welcome cancer. Before any of you jump on "OMG you're comparing Down syndrome with cancer" hysteria, its a matter of principle that you're gonna have to live with. Hardship can create a different kind of appreciation. That doesn't normalize that hardship.
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    Abdülmecid I's Avatar ¡Ay Carmela!
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    Default Re: Poland: Popular protests against abortion ban.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mithradates View Post
    Aborting children with Down-syndrome is totaly not eugenics, no sir!
    Slippery slope and playing the Hitler card? Eugenics refers to an organised policy of influencing the demographics of a specific population, so it's a bit difficult to apply them to individually taken decisions. The example of the Third Reich might not be that appropriate, after all. The Nazis may have imposed sterilisation and enforced abortions on "undesirables", but they also forbade abortion for physically fit and suitably "Aryan" women. So, the argument can be reversed very easily, especially since it's the other side, where the government is curtailing the options previously available to its citizens.
    Quote Originally Posted by Legio_Italica View Post
    And? Prenatal tests from at least 2 doctors confirming serious and irreversible birth defects was one of only a few legally valid reasons for abortion in Poland. Obviously the vast majority of legal abortions would therefore fit legal reasons. It is therefore meaningless to stress that legal abortions occurred for legal reasons. Hence I brought up US data to provide context for why women get abortions in a context where they are legally free to do so. The only reason that context would be irrelevant is if legal abortion ought to be out of the question. I’m sure that’s not what you’re arguing.
    Firstly, the different legal context for abortions in Poland means that US statistics cannot possibly be representative. Secondly and more importantly, it also means that your comment about unprotected sex and women terminating pregnacies on a whim was completely irrelevant, because neither of those are affected by the constitutional court's verdict. Those have been illegal since 1990 and will remain illegal for the foreseeable future.
    Quote Originally Posted by Prodromos View Post
    I don't think this is an accurate understanding of reality. The average life expectancy for a person with Down syndrome is nearly 60 years, and only about 5% will die by age 1. The overwhelming majority of people with Down syndrome report being happy and fulfilled.
    I don't disagree with that, but Down syndrome was just an example. The verdict means that abortion is forbidden, even in cases of terminally ill fetuses, who are domed to die a short time after their birth, due to extremely serious defects. I don't have any strong views about abortion and I understand this is a deeply subjective matter, but the radicalism of the abortion ban in Poland violates common reasoning. Preventing abortions, even when the pregnacy is guaranteed to end in tragedy seems rather unnecessary. Too much of an emotional cost, just for the sake of appeasing the dogmatic principles of a few religious zealots.

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    Default Re: Poland: Popular protests against abortion ban.

    Quote Originally Posted by Abdülmecid I View Post
    Slippery slope and playing the Hitler card? Eugenics refers to an organised policy of influencing the demographics of a specific population, so it's a bit difficult to apply them to individually taken decisions.
    The Gattaca-card.
    "individually taken decisions", 90% of babies with Down's are being aborted.
    Would you say it to the face of a person with Down's that he should have been aborted?

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    alhoon's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Poland: Popular protests against abortion ban.

    @Abdulmecid: Not all cases of Down Syndrome are hopeless. Many kids with down syndrome are able to achieve happiness even with their limited capabilities. For parents that don't want the burden, which I can understand, they can always send the kids to state institutes that exist for such reason. It is only cases that the kid will be so severely disadvantaged that his or her existence would be constant suffering that abortion should be considered.

    On the other hand...
    Do I want to make that decisions for other families? I personally strongly disagree with aborting mild cases of Down Syndrome. I believe it is wrong, selfish and deeply unethical. But... I don't think I should be the one making the decision about another family in that case.
    I can make the decision to be appalled by their decision if I don't like it, call them buttholes, unethical etc etc but I don't think I should be making such important decision for them.
    However, we're not talking about clear-cut cases like "Baby came at an inconvenient time for my career, let's kill her." that I think should be illegal (after 3rd month).

    And people close to me are trying to conceive children at advanced age. More than one friendly couple or relatives in their early 40s try to have a child (or in 2 cases, had one recently).
    I don't want the state to decide if my friends and relatives will be forced to keep their children. I want them to make the decision.


    I just don't like people that abort babies like it is not a major decision.
    Last edited by alhoon; October 25, 2020 at 08:04 AM.
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    Default Re: Poland: Popular protests against abortion ban.

    Quote Originally Posted by Abdul
    Firstly, the different legal context for abortions in Poland means that US statistics cannot possibly be representative. Secondly and more importantly, it also means that your comment about unprotected sex and women terminating pregnacies on a whim was completely irrelevant, because neither of those are affected by the constitutional court's verdict. Those have been illegal since 1990 and will remain illegal for the foreseeable future.
    Why are statistics on reasons US women get abortions in a context where they are free to do so non-representative of why women get abortions in general? Do people in European countries where abortion on demand is legal get abortions for fundamentally different reasons?
    In my opinion, the verdict of the judges is a reactionary move that drives Poland several decades backwards in a time, when other Catholic countries, such as Ireland, are finally progressing towards a modernisation of the abortion laws.
    Basing an opinion on the modernity of a country’s abortion laws on a context where legally mandated selection bias has skewed statistics on why women there get abortions implies you are concerned about people not being able to euthanize defective fetuses for financial reasons, as you subsequently reiterated. Rather than going with the obvious choice of asking you if you support euthanasia of the elderly and infirm for the same reason, I provided statistical context on why women get abortions and asked the following:
    Quote Originally Posted by me
    Is the premise here that people should be able to kill fetuses whenever and however they want, and anything less is “reactionary?”
    Abortion in Ireland is free and legal on demand during the first trimester, something you described as a step in the right direction. Thus it can be reasonably inferred you support abortion on demand beyond the first trimester. If you don’t want to answer questions about your position, or why you consider Polish people’s ability to kill fetuses without restrictions a question of modernity, that’s fine. Per your opinion, Poland’s abortion laws were reactionary and wrong before same as now, and your concern about euthanizing fetuses with Down’s Syndrome and other defects is therefore a red herring. There is nothing inherently reactionary or unreasonable about deciding that defective fetuses have a right to life in a country where the majority of people consider abortion altogether immoral. I personally would be in favor of allowing abortion in case of rape, incest, to save the life of the mother, or in cases where it is medically certain that the fetus will be born in a vegetative state or something similar to that, but I don’t pretend there’s anything inherently regressive or reactionary about taking a different position on those points. Killing fetuses is not progressive.

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    Default Re: Poland: Popular protests against abortion ban.

    Quote Originally Posted by alhoon View Post
    I just don't like people that abort babies like it is not a major decision.
    People abort fetuses, not babies.
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    Morticia Iunia Bruti's Avatar Primicerius
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    Default Re: Poland: Popular protests against abortion ban.

    This discussion is led in the wrong direction as the courts ruling restrict abortion further to only three legal cases:

    1. Rape

    2. Incest

    3. Threat to a mother's life and health

    Termination of pregnancies in the case of congenital defects is now forbidden.

    2000 official abortions are happening in Poland annually. 200.000 are happening illegal or abroad.

    https://www.dw.com/en/polands-top-co...cts/a-55360700

    98 % from those legal abortions were made because of congenital defects.

    So summa summarum only 40 abortions would be legal because of rape, incest danger for mother's life and health now.

    The Law and Order party tried 2016 to restrict abortion law to the current state. It failed because ten thousands of people protested adainst the rstrictions.

    Now with the creation of the new PiS-dependant court those restrictions are undemocratic introduced by the backdoor.

    The polnish Law and Order government had spitted on democratic and rule of law values of the EU in the past, now it is violating basic human rights as the right of women to selfdeterminate about their body.

    Nobody can force them to become pregnant and nobody can force them to bear childs, which will be forced their whole lifetime to care 24 hours a day about a heavy disabled child.

    This is a personal decision. Taking it away is a human right violation of the European Charta.

    Its completely irrelevant what beliefs the US has. Their legal constitution doesn't matter here.

    If PIS wants a authoritarian Pre WWII Pilsudski-Era-Poland, it must leave the EU.

    Simply as that.

    But thanks god for polnish women they can find help across the Oder.
    Last edited by Morticia Iunia Bruti; October 25, 2020 at 09:51 AM.
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