The European Court of Human Rights of Strasbourg (ECHR) rejected, on June 8, a lawsuit filed by eight women against the Polish legislation, which prohibits abortion in case of congenital malformations of the fetus. In this way, it sets a legal precedent, since a thousand other claims similar to this one have been presented in the ECHR.
Of the eight female applicants, only four were pregnant. Of these, two women were pregnant with healthy children and the other two suffered from diseases that could pose a risk of malformation in the fetuses. The other four stated that they had postponed their desire to have a child for fear that if the fetus had a congenital anomaly they would not receive medical help.
Previously, they had filed the lawsuit with pre-filled application forms that were posted online by the Foundation for Women and Family Planning (FEDERA). This feminist organization, which has led the protests against the anti-abortion policy in Poland, encouraged women of childbearing age in that country to add information about their personal circumstances and send it to the Court.
The female applicants did so, but none of them attached any document or medical certificate related to their health condition. They presented only considerably limited information that did not determine their medical situation.
The Court noted that the two applicants 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. It would have been necessary for the fetuses to have been diagnosed with serious and irreversible anomalies or an incurable life-threatening disease for their request to have been considered.
Therefore, it was concluded that the application forms contained very little information about the applicants, which had been added following a national campaign organized by a pro-abortion NGO.
In the view of the ECHR, the applicants aimed to request the Court to review, in the abstract, the law and its application in relation to the termination of pregnancy. This would contribute to the political debate related to reproductive rights and access to termination of pregnancy in Poland.
In the ECtHR’s view, the applicants aimed to ask the Court to review, in the abstract, the law and its application in relation to the termination of pregnancy. This would contribute to the political debate related to reproductive rights and access to termination of pregnancy in Poland.
For these reasons, the Court unanimously declared the applications inadmissible.