Accepted paper:

Abortion law in Poland - from liberal communist law to restricted corporate and state law in democracy


Dawid Bunikowski (University of the Arctic)

Paper short abstract:

The paper analyzes a way from liberal communist law on abortion to restrictive both corporate law and state law in democratic Poland. In the communist time abortion on demand was allowed, in democracy the abortion law (corporate medical law, the state law) and legal debate are very restricted.

Paper long abstract:

The paper aim is to analyze a way from liberal communist law in the field of abortion to restrictive both corporate law and the state law in democracy after the communism collapse in Poland. The Abortion Act of 1956 allowed for e.g. an abortion on demand (so called "social reasons"). In 1991 The Polish Medical Association enforced a new code of ethics which prohibited abortion (there were two exceptions: mother's life danger and pregnancy as a result of crime). The medical corporate law was not compatible with the state law, being contrary themselves. There were two normative systems of rules in one social sphere - an absolute legal pluralism. The corporate sanction was more severe and more important than the state law, and there was no a rule of recognition which could establish what a value and what a rule to choose. In 1993 the state passed a new law - the "Anti-Abortion Act" which was more conservative and restrictive than the Act of 1956 and in relation to many similar acts in European countries. There are only three exceptions in which abortion is legal: 1. danger of woman's health or life, 2. pregnancy as a result of crime (incest, rape), 3. so called "eugenic reasons" (a deformation of fetus). Nowadays in the Parliament and public discourse there are political and citizens' projects to make the abortion law just more conservative than it really is now. It concerns a prohibition of eugenic abortion and even the absolute prohibition of abortion.

panel G43
New topics in the field of legal pluralism (IUAES Commission on Legal Pluralism)