malformed babies.Photo: File

Strasbourg Endorses Poland’s Ban on Abortion for Foetal Malformations

The Court noted that the two claimants who claimed to have conditions alleged to cause an increased risk of fetal malformation did not provide any medical evidence to support their claims in their applications.

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(ZENIT News – Bioethics Observatory of the Catholic University of Valencia / Strasbourg, 07.04.2023).- On June 8, the European Court of Human Rights of Strasbourg (ECHR) rejected the lawsuit filed in the Court by eight women against Poland’s legislation, which bans abortion in the case of congenital malformations of the foetus, thus setting a legal precedent, given that a thousand similar lawsuits have been filed in the ECHR.

Of the eight female Court applicants, only four were pregnant. Of these, two were carrying healthy babies and the other two were suffering from diseases that could imply a risk of malformation in the foetuses. The other four said they had postponed their wish to have a child for fear that if the foetus presented any congenital anomaly they would not receive medical help. 

Previously they had filed a lawsuit with a completed form, published online by the Foundation for Women and Family Planning. This feminine organization, which has led the protests against Poland’s anti-abortion policy, encouraged women in fertile age of that country to add information on their personal circumstances  and send it to the Court. 

The applicant women did so, but none of them attached any document or medical certificate relating to their state of health. They only gave considerably limited information, which made it impossible to determine their medical situation. 

The Court observed that the two applicants who said they had diseases, which supposedly implied a greater risk of foetal malformation, did not furnish any medical proof that supported their statements in their applications. It would have been necessary that serious and irreversible anomalies had been diagnosed in the foetuses or an incurable disease that threatened their lives so that their application would be taken into account. 

Hence, the conclusion was reached that the application forms contained very little information on the applicants, a form which had been introduced after a national campaign organized by a pro-abortion NGO. 

In the opinion of the ECHR, the applicants had as their objective to request the Court to revise, in the abstract, the law and its application in regard to the interruption of a pregnancy, contributing to the political debate regarding reproductive rights and access to the interruption of a pregnancy in Poland.

For these reasons, the Court unanimously declared the applications inadmissible. 

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