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Poland’s top court votes to protect babies with disabilities from ‘eugenic’ abortion

Poland’s top court has ruled that disability-selective abortions, which make up a majority of all terminations in Poland, are unconstitutional.

The decision by the country’s Constitutional Court today will mean the majority of unborn babies in Poland will be protected from abortion.

Once the court’s ruling comes into effect, terminations will only be permissible in cases of rape or incest, or if the mother’s life is at risk.

Protection of life

The ruling came in response to a motion filed, last year, by a large cross-party group of lawmakers from Poland’s Law and Justice Party, Confederation Liberty and Independence Party and Polish Coalition Party.

In their application, the 119 parliamentarians argued that allowing terminations on the basis of disability, such as cleft lip, club foot or Down’s syndrome, would be in violation of the Polish Constitution which protects the dignity and right to life of every human person.  

11 of Poland’s 13 Constitutional Court judges agreed. In its decision, the court said there can be no protection of the dignity of an individual without the protection of life.

‘Poland is on the side of life’

According to Polsat News, when the decision was announced, pro-life campaigners celebrated outside the court shouting “Thank you” and “Poland is on the side of life”.

Polling has revealed there is strong support for pro-life measures in the country.

A CBOS survey found that 75% of Polish people think abortion is “always wrong and can never be justified”. Meanwhile, only 7% thought there was “nothing wrong with it and could always be justified”.

Additionally, earlier this year a ‘Citizens’ initiative against eugenic abortion’ supporting a ban on disability-selective abortion gathered 830,000 signatures from Polish residents, indicating further strong support for the change in law.

Will the UK be the next to offer protection to disabled babies

Pro-life campaigners are hoping the ruling will have a positive influence on the UK, where the High Court in London will hear a landmark case against the UK Government over the country’s discriminatory abortion legislation.

Currently in England, Scotland and Wales, the law singles out babies with disabilities such as cleft lip and club foot and Down’s syndrome and allows terminations right up to the point of birth. However, there is a 24-week time limit for most abortions that are carried out when a baby does not have a disability.

Heidi Carter, a 25-year-old woman with Down’s syndrome, and Máire Lea-Wilson, whose sixteen-month-old son Aidan also has the condition, both believe this is “deeply offensive” and have joined forces to challenge the law.

Help stop abortion up to birth for babies with disabilities including Down's syndrome & club foot

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Dear reader

In 2020, the UK Government imposed an extreme abortion regime on Northern Ireland, which included a provision that legalised abortion right up to birth for disabilties including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot.

A new Bill has been launched at the Northern Ireland assembly that will remove the current provision that allows abortion for ‘severe fetal impairment’.

It is under these grounds in the regulations that babies with disabilities including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot can currently be singled out for abortion in Northern Ireland because of their disability and can be aborted right up to birth.

Before the new abortion regime was imposed on Northern Ireland in 2020, disability-selective abortion for conditions such as Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot was not legal and there was a culture of welcoming and supporting people with these disabilities rather than eliminating them.

This is reflected directly in the latest figures (2016) from the Department of Health in Northern Ireland, which show that while there were 52 children born with Down’s syndrome in Northern Ireland, in the same year only 1 child from Northern Ireland with Down’s syndrome was aborted in England and Wales. 

This contrasts with the situation in the rest of the United Kingdom where disability-selective abortion has been legal since 1967.

The latest available figures show that 90% of children diagnosed with Down’s syndrome before birth are aborted in England and Wales.

We are, therefore, asking people like you to take 30 seconds of your time and add your support to the campaign to stop abortion up to birth for disabilities including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot in Northern Ireland.

If you live in Northern Ireland: 
Ask your MLAs to vote to stop abortion up to birth for disabilities including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot:

If you live outside Northern Ireland: 
Show your support by signing this petition in support of the Bill:

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Help stop abortion up to birth for babies with disabilities including Down's syndrome & club foot

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