Poland's opposition sees no back-track over abortion law

Budka said that the Tribunal's ruling will lead to the collapse of prenatal research, increase the numbers of underground abortions, and divide women into those who can afford an abortion and those who cannot. Mateusz Marek/PAP

The leader of Poland's biggest opposition party has said he is in favour of giving Polish women the right to decide on abortion.

"If I am correctly understanding the signals from most of my parliamentary colleagues, then there is absolutely no return to the 1993 (abortion) compromise as it has been crossed out by the present government," Borys Budka, the leader of the Civic Platform, told Friday's Dziennik Gazeta Prawna newspaper.

Budka's comments follow an October ruling by Poland's Constitutional Tribunal which stated that abortion is unconstitutional in the case of a severely damaged foetus. The ruling sparked regular mass protests across the country.

Budka also said that in the present situation, when Poland's lower house is dominated by right-wing MPs, it would impossible to hold a national referendum on a new agreement on abortion rights.

"The question remains how to regulate the right of a woman to decide so that her decision would not be imposed on by anyone and that any decision will always be consistent with the woman's conscience. This is difficult to define, but not impossible," said Budka.

Budka added that the Tribunal's ruling will lead to the collapse of prenatal research, increase the numbers of underground abortions, and divide women into those who can afford an abortion and those who cannot.

"The former will be able to afford to go to Germany, the Czech Republic or Slovakia, to have an examination and possibly have an abortion. The poor will either risk their own life and health, or will undergo a backstreet abortion," said the MP.

If the ruling comes into force, it would leave only two situations in which a pregnancy could be terminated: when the pregnancy is the result of a crime or when it poses a danger to the mother's health or life.