On October 22, Poland’s Constitutional Court issued a ruling that banned abortion in most cases, prompting the biggest wave of protests since the 1980s when the Solidarity movement toppled the communist regime. Despite the danger posed by coronavirus, the protests turned into a broader expression of anger against the government, as well as its ally, the Church, a rarity in this staunchly Catholic country.
Since 2015, Poland has been run by the conservative and nationalist Law and Justice party whose political platform in large part focuses on Catholic values. It narrowly won a second term in office last year.
Poland already had one of the strict- est abortion laws in Europe. Now, abortion due to foetal defects – by far the most common reason for legal abortions – has been deemed unconstitutional, leaving only a threat to the woman’s life, rape or incest as acceptable reasons to carry out the procedure.