Polish Prime Minister Tusk Proposes Liberalizing Abortion Law and Access to Morning-After Pill

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk intends to challenge the severe restrictions on abortion under the current Law and Justice Party (PiS) government.

Tusk to liberalize abortion law

Under the PiS government, the right to abortion in Poland has been severely restricted. Prime Minister Tusk wants to change that. The morning-after pill should also be available without a prescription. The plans need to be approved by parliament.

Poland’s new Prime Minister, Donald Tusk, wants to loosen abortion laws. “We are ready to introduce a bill into parliament in the coming hours for legal and safe abortions up to the twelfth week of pregnancy,” Tusk said before journalists in Warsaw.

The proposed legislation is the proposal of his party, the liberal-conservative Civic Coalition. Tusk’s center-left government also includes two other parties, the Left Alliance Lewica and the Christian-conservative Third Way. “As you know, there are different views on this issue (abortion) within the coalition,” Tusk said.

Another bill aims to facilitate access to the morning-after pill. According to the proposal, women and girls aged 15 and older will be able to obtain it without a prescription.

Tightening caused massive protests in 2020

Poland’s abortion law is currently as restrictive as almost anywhere else in Europe. Abortions are only allowed in cases of rape or incest or when the life of the mother is at risk. Prior to Tusk taking office in December, the national-conservative Law and Justice Party (PiS) had also introduced a prescription requirement for the morning-after pill in 2017.

After the Supreme Court ruled in 2020 for a near-total ban on abortions, thousands protested nationwide. Since then, numerous people have taken to the streets to protest against the abortion law.

Parliament still needs to approve

The left-liberal and pro-European camp had already promised to liberalize abortion rights during the election campaign. After their victory in October, Tusk and his coalition partners included the planned reforms in their coalition agreement.

After approval by parliament, the new laws still need to be enacted by Poland’s President, Andrzej Duda, who is close to the PiS party.