This year, the new penal code only legalized abortion when there were medical reasons and for the first time in Europe when the pregnancy was due to a criminal act.  This made Poland the first country in Europe outside the Soviet Union to legalize abortion in cases of rape and threats to maternal health.  Except during the German occupation during World War II, this law was in force from 1932 to 1956. In Nazi Germany, which included parts of Poland from 1939 to 1945, the law allowing unlimited abortions by Polish women had been in force since March 9, 1943. This was the only time in Poland`s history that abortion on demand was legal, and in fact, abortion for Poles was often forced by the Nazis, especially in German concentration camps such as Waltrop-Holthausen and Ravensbrück.  The issue continues to deeply divide women and even their immediate family members. Iza, one of the women photographed by Strek (above), says her pregnancy was the result of rape, but her mother still wanted her to have the child. Poland is one of the few countries in the world where abortion has been widely banned since the 1990s after decades of permissive liberalized legislation during the communist era of the Polish People`s Republic.  In 2010, about 10-15% of abortions had to be performed on Polish pregnant women outside Poland due to strict restrictions in their own country.  Poland`s abortion law is also one of the most restrictive in the European Union (EU) and Europe in general, along with a group of other traditionally Roman Catholic countries in the region (e.g. Malta, Liechtenstein, Vatican, Monaco and Andorra).  The decision sparked outrage among abortion rights advocates.
A survey conducted in May 2022 by OKO.press found that 66% of Polish respondents were in favor of abortion up to the 12th week of pregnancy.  According to this survey, 83% of women and 80% of men aged 18 to 39 supported abortion. In comparison, 57% of men and 52% of women aged 60 or older were in favour of abortion. Support for abortion also differed between rural and urban Poles, with 78 percent of respondents living in cities with more than 100,000 residents supporting abortion, compared to only 58 percent of respondents in rural areas.  KUZLIK: You deal with it in Ukraine. And there is no problem for them. We don`t expect pregnant women to help them with abortions. Kamila Ferenc, Foundation for Women and Family Planning: Polish law is too restrictive to allow abortion to a Ukrainian woman without shame, complications, legal barriers. In practice, however, abortion in Poland was possible on request. In Poland, however, the black protest proved to be a step backwards in the losing battle for abortion rights, which culminated last year in a Constitutional Court ruling that made abortion or aiding and abetting abortion a criminal act, with exceptions only for rape, incest and to protect the mother`s life. Abortion rights advocates say the figures reflect restrictions already in place that make it nearly impossible for Polish women to have a legal abortion, prompting them to request an illegal abortion or perform an abortion abroad. `We had abortions`: 1972 petition changed the abortion rights movement In a 2014 CBOS Public Opinion Research Center survey on abortion, 65 percent of Poles considered abortion immoral and unacceptable, and only 27 percent acceptable, down 4 percent from an earlier 2009 survey.
 In a February 2014 CBOS survey, more than half of participants (55%) were against the right to abortion on demand. In addition, 71% of participants felt that abortion on demand was inappropriate. At the same time, more than a third (37%) believed that abortion should be allowed.  In 2019, 98% of abortions were performed for these reasons, meaning that the decision effectively banned the vast majority of abortions. From this Warsaw apartment, Justyna Wydrzynska is a lifeline for Polish women looking for loopholes in banning most abortions in their country. She explains to them how to find pills online to administer or go to clinics abroad, actions that fall into the gray zone of Polish restrictions. AMOS: It is still legal, she points out, for a pregnant woman in Poland to terminate her pregnancy abroad. And it is still legal to order abortion pills. In fact, the data shows that Poland`s abortion ban hasn`t really stopped abortions.
The numbers remain constant despite the ban, as Polish women find ways to make their own decisions about their bodies. AMOS: Lewandowska can legally refer women to websites that list clinics in countries where abortion is legal. She can point to websites that offer abortion pills from the Netherlands that are delivered within 24 hours. Then she knows the links with private groups that can pay if a woman can`t. All this is supported by a coalition of activists across Europe. AMOS: The change came in 1989 with the end of one-party rule and the first democratic elections. The Catholic Church, which had led the fight against communism, pushed for a ban on abortion. Parliament is committed. In 1993, the law received broad support. There were three exceptions: when a woman`s life is in danger, the pregnancy results from rape or incest, or the fetus is damaged. And this was by far the majority of statutory dismissals. In September 2015, a citizens` initiative to introduce a complete ban on abortion in the Diet was rejected.
178 MPs supported the measure, while 206 voted against.  They fear that the new data could be used by police and prosecutors against women whose pregnancies end, even in the event of a miscarriage, or that women could be prosecuted by the state if they order abortion pills or travel abroad for an abortion. One year after the discredited Decision of the Polish Constitutional Court, which bans access to abortion in almost all circumstances, came into force, its devastating impact on the lives of women and all those in need of abortion care continues. The decision has exacerbated the extreme obstacles faced by women seeking access to abortion and has had tragic consequences for many of them and their families. Since the entry into force of the judgment on 27. In January 2021, more than 1,000 women turned to the European Court of Human Rights to defend their rights, challenge Poland`s strictly restrictive abortion law and seek justice. These landmark cases are the first direct appeals to the European Court of Justice against Poland`s abortion law and the 2020 Constitutional Court ruling. The complainants claim that the Polish Abortion Act causes them serious harm and violates their rights to privacy and to freedom from torture and other ill-treatment.
It is expected that the Court will begin to rule on some of these cases: K.B. v. Poland and 3 other requests; K.C. v. Poland and 3 other applications; and A.L.- B. v. Poland and 3 other requests. Nine major international human rights organizations have filed third-party complaints with the European Court of Human Rights in these cases, including Amnesty International, the Center for Reproductive Rights, Human Rights Watch, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), the European Network of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF EN), Women Enabled International, Women`s Link Worldwide and the World Organization. against torture (OMCT).