EP debates Polish constitutional court's abortion ruling

Speaking at the commencement of the debate, EU Commissioner for Equality Helena Dalli said that the judgment of the Constitutional Tribunal had "led to a practical ban on abortion in Poland," but added that the EU did not have any powers in areas related to healthcare systems. Frederick Florin/PAP/EPA

A debate related to a ruling on abortion issued by the Polish Constitutional Tribunal almost a year ago was held in the European Parliament on Wednesday.

The ruling by Poland's Constitutional Tribunal on October 22, last year, halted pregnancy terminations for fetal abnormalities, virtually the only type of abortion currently performed in the country.

Abortions of pregnancies resulting from rape and those threatening the life of women are still formally legal.

Speaking at the commencement of the debate, EU Commissioner for Equality Helena Dalli said that the judgment of the Constitutional Tribunal had "led to a practical ban on abortion in Poland," but added that the EU did not have any powers in areas related to healthcare systems.

Robert Biedroń, an MEP from The Left, said: "The women's hell continues. A year ago, (ruling Law and Justice party leader Jaroslaw – PAP) Kaczyński sealed the verdict against women."

"Poland has in reality become a patriarchal religious state in which Polish women… are deprived of a voice and are reduced to the role of an incubator. This is a terrifying barbarism and government-led torture," he added.

Izabela-Helena Kloc, a Law and Justice MEP, said: "Over the course of this year, many children were born in Poland who would not have had this chance two years ago. So, I ask, do you have anything to say to those women who are holding their children and are thrilled? Would they have been so happy if they could today only call to mind the nightmare of abortion?"

She added that in a few years the children who were born will turn to their mothers and say, "Mother, I love you and thank you for being here. Thank you for giving me life."