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    European Court of Human Rights Dismisses Eight Abortion Access Cases in Poland

    In a recent ruling, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has dismissed charges filed by eight Polish women who claimed they were denied access to legal abortion in Poland. Citing a lack of strong medical evidence and other factors, the court concluded that the applicants failed to prove their case.

    The ECHR’s decision, announced on Thursday, pertains to eight Polish women who argued that their human rights were violated by a 2020 verdict from Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal. This verdict banned the termination of pregnancies in cases where the fetus had defects. The women, aged between 1980 and 1993, specifically contended that they were effectively prohibited from obtaining legal abortions in situations involving fetal abnormalities.

    Apart from asserting the denial of access to abortion, the applicants also contended that the abortion restrictions were illegal due to alleged deficiencies in the composition and impartiality of the Constitutional Tribunal. However, the ECHR found these claims unsubstantiated.

    Lack of Convincing Medical Evidence

    The court’s statement emphasized that the applicants did not provide compelling medical evidence demonstrating that they were genuinely at risk of being directly affected by the 2020 legislative amendments. Consequently, the ECHR regarded the consequences of the amendments as too remote and abstract for the applicants to be considered ‘victims’ under the European Convention of Human Rights. The unanimous decision suggests that the medical evidence presented by the applicants was insufficient to support their claims.

    The ECHR’s ruling also revealed that approximately 1,000 similar cases are pending, awaiting a decision.

    Following the Constitutional Tribunal’s ruling in October 2020, all abortions in Poland are prohibited, except in cases where the pregnancy results from rape or incest or poses a threat to the health or life of the mother.

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