In spite of mass-protests, on Tuesday Poland’s ultra-conservative government passed legislation through parliament that would regulate the Constitutional Tribunal — a judicial body that rules on the constitutionality of state activity, in a move intended to clear a path for hardline law changes that are expected to include a total ban on abortion. Poland’s Law and Justice Party, with the endorsement of conservative bishops, managed to gain an absolute majority in parliament in October. “Law & Justice swept up the armies of people who had stood on church steps for eight years, bearing petitions against abortion and IVF (in-vitro fertilization),” explains Jacek Kucharczyk of the Institute of Public Affairs. “They were part of the church’s campaign against what it sees as morally regressive so-called gender ideology, perceived as being imposed by western Europe.” The government’s first concrete policy move has been to remove funding for IVF in public hospitals, and among their ambitions is a withdrawal from the Council of Europe’s Istanbul convention, a convention on preventing and combatting domestic violence and violence against women.
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