The European Union’s Parliament on Thursday accused Poland’s government of improperly influencing a court that has imposed an almost complete ban on abortion, reported Reuters. The European Parliament said this showed that the rule of law in the country had collapsed.
Hundreds of thousands of protestors have come out onto the streets of Poland to demonstrate against an October ruling of the country’s Constitutional Tribunal that tightened the country’s already restrictive abortion laws. The top court had ruled last month that abortion in cases of anomalies among foetuses is unconstitutional.
The EU Parliament passed a resolution in the matter with 455 votes in favour, 145 against, and 71 members abstained from voting. A majority of European politicians, who debated on abortion rights in Poland, expressed solidarity with protestors. Dutch MEP from the Renew Europe Group Samira Rafaela also pledged to “join them in this battle till the very end”, according to Euronews.
“To the women of Poland I would like to say, we are standing right next to you and we will join you in this battle till the very end,” Rafaela added.
The resolution followed after the governments in Poland and Hungary vetoed the Union’s budget and a coronavirus recovery fund earlier this month.
A legal impediment against Poland’s abortion law, enforced in 1993, in cases of severe disabilities among foetuses was initiated by MPs from the ruling nationalist Law and Justice Party in 2019, according to BBC. In Poland, 98% of the abortions are done citing the anomalies.
Meanwhile, police in Poland have used violent means against peaceful demonstrators, Euronews reported on Wednesday, citing activists. Officials have thrown people on the ground, assaulted them with batons, and made use of kettling, a method of using blockades to limit movement of a crowd in a specific area, according to a human rights lawyer.
At least 60 protestors, including a 17-year-old, have been detained in the last few weeks, but the actual number is rumoured to be much higher. The police also charged a photojournalist, Agata Grzybowska, for assaulting an officer on Monday. This was the first time a journalist was detained during the month-long protests, reported Associated Press. She was reportedly dragged away as bystanders urged officers to stop as she was a journalist. Following this, a group gathered outside a police station in central Warsaw, where she was taken, and protested against her detainment. She was released later.
“We know that a lot of the protesters are being manhandled once they are taken to police cars and during the detainments themselves,” human rights lawyer Eliza Rutynowska told Euronews.
However, the Polish government has not published the Constitutional Tribunal’s judgement, which meant that the recent restrictions are not enforceable, according to Reuters. The ruling Law and Justice party said it was waiting for the court to give a more detailed justification of its ruling.