Agrarian leader urges PM not to publish top court's abortion verdict
Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz, leader of the agrarian Polish People's Party (PSL), appealed to PM Morawiecki on Saturday not to publish a recent Constitutional Tribunal verdict putting a near-total ban on abortion as crowds of people staged protests across Poland.
On Thursday, Poland's Constitutional Tribunal ruled that laws currently permitting abortion due to foetal defects are unconstitutional. The ruling follows a 2019 motion to the court by 119 MPs from the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party and two opposition groupings.
Current abortion laws in Poland are very strict compared to other EU member countries. Abortion is admissible if pre-natal tests reveal a high probability of irreversible damage to the foetus or its affliction with an incurable and life-endangering ailment. Other admissible cases include an immediate threat to a woman's life and incest or rape.
The Thursday verdict sparked mass protests of mostly women and young people, with the police reporting 91 mass gatherings across Poland on Friday. In Warsaw, thousands of protesters marched first to the home of PiS leader Jarosław Kaczyński, where they staged a protest, to continue their several-kilometre route to government buildings. The demonstration ended around midnight.
"It's time to stop the things that are happening. I appeal to the government to come to their senses, it's still not too late and we can do some things that will normalise the situation and stop this ideological war so that we can focus on fighting the coronavirus," Kosiniak-Kamysz told reporters in the southern city of Kraków on Saturday afternoon.
He suggested the prime minister should refrain from publishing the controversial verdict "due to a state of emergency," and wait until the pandemic is contained to carry out a nationwide referendum on the abortion issue and later write the nation's decision into the constitution.
Kosiniak-Kamysz said the Constitutional Tribunal had breached an abortion compromise that had lasted for 30 years at a time when "the most important thing is to fight the coronavirus to save Poles' health and lives."