Polish Constitutional Court and the Reproductive Rights

Thirty years after the democratic transition, reproductive rights – in particular access to the abortion – remains the battleground of hyper-polarized identity politics. During that period, Constitutional Tribunal developed rather conservative line of jurisprudence, with two landmark decisions: of May 1997 (K 26/96) and October 2020 (K 1/20). The former declared unconstitutionality of the amendment allowing abortion due to the personal difficulties – on the grounds of rule of law principle. The latter, issued by the “new” CT, declared unconstitutionality of the provision allowing abortion in case of permanent damage of the fetus (including lethal ones). Although both judgments had been criticized in the liberal circles, the October verdict ignited wave of unprecedented street protests (Woman’s Strike) and introduced “CT issue” to the daily debates of ordinary people. Paper discusses “old” and “new” CT jurisprudence on reproductive rights in its legal, political and social dimension.