Human Rights

European Court of Human Rights issues surprising ruling regarding Poland’s pro-life law

Down syndrome

Abortion activists trying to challenge Poland’s pro-life laws were rejected by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in a surprising ruling.

A group of eight women argued that the Polish law protecting preborn children with disabilities from abortion violated their human rights. However, the ECHR ruled that their case is inadmissible due to a lack of evidence. In a press release, the court explained:

The Court found that the applicants had failed to provide any convincing medical evidence proving that they had been at real risk of being directly affected by the 2020 legislative amendments. Nor had they produced any documents relating to their personal circumstances, making it impossible to assess their individual situations.

The consequences for the applicants of the legislative amendments were thus too remote and abstract for them to arguably claim to be “victims” within the meaning of the European Convention of Human Rights.

Unfortunately, this is simply one of many challenges; the court noted that there are roughly 1,000 other similar cases waiting to be heard. The ECHR also has a long history of promoting abortion, and had singled out Poland before. The Court even previously argued that it is “necessary” to censor pro-life speech.

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The law in question was put into place in 2021; before it was enacted, 98% of abortions in Poland were due to a prenatal diagnosis of disability. After the law was passed, the number of abortions being committed plummeted, from 1,076 in 2020 to just 107 in 2021.

Numerous protests have taken place in Poland since then, including violent protests and instances of arson committed by abortion activists. In a recent case, abortion activists stormed a Catholic cathedral during Mass, screaming and throwing pro-abortion pamphlets. Yet a district court judge acquitted them of all charges, saying that the archbishop of Poznań, Stanisław Gądecki, brought the protests on himself and the cathedral, simply for vocally expressing support for pro-life legislation.

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