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Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal rules that abortion due to foetal defects is unconstitutional

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Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal ruled on Thursday that abortion due to foetal defects was unconstitutional, banning one of the few remaining legal grounds for pregnancy termination in the predominantly Catholic country.

After the ruling goes into effect, abortion will be only be permissible in Poland in the case of rape, incest or a threat to the mother’s health and life.

“(A provision which) legalises eugenic practices in the field of the right to life of an unborn child and makes the right to life of an unborn child dependent on his or her health, which constitutes direct discrimination … is inconsistent … with the constitution,” said Julia Przylebska, Head of the Constitutional Tribunal.

Conservative values have played a growing role in public life in Poland since the nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) came into power five years ago on a promise to defend what it sees as the nation’s traditional, Catholic character.

Curbing access to abortion has been a long-standing ambition of the party, but it has stepped back from previous legislative proposals amid widespread public backlash.

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