Poland to make abortion ban binding

Poland’s top constitutional court on Wednesday published its reasoning for a verdict that tightens the country’s already tough abortion laws.

The government said that step opens the way for the verdict to be officially published. That means abortions will only be permitted in cases of rape, incest and when a mother’s life is endangered. The Constitutional Tribunal ruled on October 22 that abortions for reasons of fetal abnormality violate the Polish constitution.

That decision sparked weeks of mass demonstrations — prompting the government to refuse to publish the tribunal’s verdict — a legally mandated step that makes the ruling binding. The protests have grown smaller in recent weeks, lessening the political danger for the nationalist government led by the Law and Justice (PiS) party.

The verdict soured already difficult relations between Warsaw and Brussels, where the Polish government is under fire for allegedly backsliding on democracy. The European Parliament adopted a resolution that “strongly condemns” the tightening of abortion rules — already among the strictest in the EU.

PiS has formed a political alliance with parts of the powerful Roman Catholic Church, which strongly opposes allowing any abortions.

The decision to publish the verdict prompted warnings of more demonstrations from the All-Poland Women’s Strike, which organized the earlier protests and demands the government resign.

“Tonight could be heavy,” the group said.

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