by Michael Cleverley
Many Polish people took to the streets recently to protest a court ruling that has illegalized abortion in most scenarios. The judges ruled that the termination of a permanently harmed unborn baby is unconstitutional. This ruling makes 98% of Poland’s abortions illegal and only leaves two situations where women can have abortions.
This situation of people protesting against rulings restricting abortions is the opposite of what happens in America. The loosening of abortion restrictions in America pass easily and the pro-life Americans protest the loose restrictions. Protests in America occur outside of abortion clinics. In Poland protesters have disrupted church services in protest of stricter abortion laws.
“It’s interesting to see that so many people are protesting in similar ways against laws for life,” Kristina Petersen, the president for the Students for Life student org, said.
Strict abortion laws existed in Poland even before the recent court decision. The Law and Justice party holds many judiciary positions now after an age cap of 75-years-old was placed on the judicial appointees in 2015. This is normal for other democracies. However, in Poland, it forced 27 judges to resign and allowed the Law and Justice party to fill those seats and control the judiciary.
However, Law and Justice has lost power in other parts of the government. Law and Justice’s base is the Catholic Church. They defend the traditional values of the Catholic Church. This is why some people protesting the abortion ruling are calling for a separation of Church and state. However, the strength of the Catholic Church deterred the USSR from militarily occupying Poland previously because they feared revolts. After WWII the Soviet Union moved troops into eastern European countries that they were given control of after the war, but Poland was an exception.
Dr. Glen Duerr is the Associate Professor of International Studies at Cedarville University. He teaches the History and Politics of Russia & Eastern Europe course.
“From an American perspective it’s tempting to say disentangle the two,” Duerr said. “But from a Polish perspective it’s, this is a key to our national identity and the protection of our language, culture and history.”
Poland’s population consists of many Catholics. Some agree with the ruling and some side with the protestors. Although Law and Justice ruled that aborting an unborn baby that is malformed is unconstitutional, they have postponed publishing the decision in light of protests. The court ruling will not go into effect until it has been published. This has been viewed as illegal by some, but Poland has postponed initiating requirements before. The postponing of publication gives the government time to talk it over and find a more middle position.
Petersen said, “Personally, I hope that Poland keeps its strict law because it would drastically decrease the number of abortions.”
Michael Cleverley is a sophomore Journalism major with an Asian Studies minor and writer for Cedars. When not studying or working on a story for Cedars he likes to write, knit and hang out with friends.