‚Enough is Enough‘: Poland’s Abortion Ban and Hungary’s Same-Sex Adoption Ban in Spotlight

Written by | Sunday, November 15th, 2020

An abortion charity in the German capital said it has been receiving an increasing number of calls from Polish women after the country’s government put into place a near-total ban on terminations. Poland’s highest court‘s ruling struck down a provision that had allowed abortions in instances of severe foetal abnormalities, a move that has been widely condemned a an outright legalization of the torture of women. The Berlin-based charity, Ciocia Basia, said the court‘s decision worsens a situation already complicated by the pandemic. A volunteer working with the charity said that “often women seeking help were already in the process of arranging an abortion in Poland and now no one wants to do it. So they’re mentally exhausted, traumatised.“ She goes on explaining that the Polish women “are punished twice because the child they were awaiting has turned out to be sick and may not survive, but they’re being forced to deliver. It’s emotional torture.” Other organisations, such as the Abortion Without Borders, are also reporting a similar increase in calls for help.
Therefore, since 22 October, people have been coming out onto the streets throughout Poland in unprecedented numbers. Within a week, by police estimates alone, almost half a million people took part in demonstrations in almost 150 locations, making them possibly the largest protests in Polish history. The protests were first organised by Strajk Kobiet – the Women’s Strike – organization which dates back to 2016 when the Law and Justice government first pondered restricting women’s right to choose. But some others believe the court ruling was the right decision. Arguing that “it protects the rights of people with disabilities,“ a spokesman for Right To Life UK, a charitable organization, says that “previously they were discriminated against. It was not legal to terminate children in most instances but you could terminate children because they had a disability, which I think is fundamentally unfair and unjust.“
Meanwhile, in another post-communist state in Central Europe, Hungary, the Orbán’s government has proposed draft legislation that would ban adoption for same-sex couples. The new law would mean that only married couples can adopt children and single people can only adopt with special permission from the minister in charge of family affairs. Human rights groups have denounced the draft bill as an attack and campaign against the LGBT community. The government controlled by Orbán’s right-wing Fidesz party also proposed a constitutional amendment requiring children to be raised with a Christian interpretation of gender roles. Adoption is currently only possible for same-sex couples in Hungary if one partner applied as a single person. Hungary has increased its anti-LGBT rhetoric throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and under new provisions, it would recognise families based on marriage, where “the mother is a woman, the father is a man”. “Proposals that are severely restrictive, contrary to international and European human rights principles, were tabled in the hours following the parliamentary ratification of the special legal order,” the Hatter rights group slammed Orbán’s government’s latest move in a statement.

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