Skip to main content

Polish government uses COVID-19 to push through a controversial reform

by Maria Powazka, Oct 30
2 minutes read

On 22 October, the Polish Constitutional Tribunal closed one of the last remaining legal grounds for abortion in the country. By the ruling, the Tribunal, controversially overhauled by the governing party – Law and Justice (PiS) in November 2019, delegalised abortions carried out as a result of grave fetal defects and abnormalities. With the new ban, the terminations will only be valid in case of rape or incest, or when mother’s life is in danger.

white printer paper on brown dried leaves

The ruling has sparked an unprecedented level of protests in the country with over 100,000 people out on the streets. This has been further fuelled by anger at the PiS government using the pandemic to push through the previously protested reform without public consultation or parliamentary debate. Doing it at a time when social gatherings had been limited to a maximum of 5 people speaks to the growing concerns over the authoritarian drift of the ruling party, gradually taking control over the judicial system and other institutions whose role was to safeguard democracy.

So what?

The rules of the PiS government have brought about a sharp polarisation of the Polish society. They’ve also caused a dramatic reduction in the availability of platforms for social discourse. But has the “zero choice” ruling, which unified PiS’s opposition with many of their supporters, been a step too far? Will the conservative government use the pandemic further and put an end to protests introducing a national lockdown? Is this case of using COVID-19 to pass unpopular laws a precedent for other far right governments?

Embed from Getty Images



by Maria Powazka Spotted 17 signals

Maria is a Digital Manager at Forum for the Future, based in London, UK.

Have you spotted a signal of change?

Register to receive the latest from the Futures Centre.
Sign up

  • 0
  • Share

Join discussion

Related signals

Our use of cookies

We use necessary cookies to make our site work. We'd also like to set optional analytics cookies to help us improve it. We won't set optional cookies unless you enable them. Using this tool will set a cookie on your device to remember your preferences.

For more detailed information about the cookies we use, see our Cookies page.

Necessary cookies

Necessary cookies enable core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility. You may disable these by changing your browser settings, but this may affect how the website functions.

Analytics cookies

We'd like to set Google Analytics cookies to help us to improve our website by collecting and reporting information on how you use it. The cookies collect information in a way that does not directly identify anyone. For more information on how these cookies work, please see our 'Cookies page'.