Violent social reactions, which occurred in a part of the society after the Constitutional Tribunal had announced the unconstitutionality of abortion for eugenic premises, have showed a deep ideological division of Polish society in the issues of protection of the unborns’ lives. Meanwhile, on October 22, 2020, the Constitutional Tribunal stating that the provisions of the 1993 are unconstitutional with the Polish legal order expressed in the Constitution of the Republic of Poland adopted as a result of the referendum in 1997, took the only possible position on this issue from the point of view of the current legal system. Nevertheless, the objective legal fact, which arose as a result of the ruling of the Constitutional Tribunal, was shown socially by opponents of the protection of conceived life as an attack on civil liberties and the right to self-determination of women about their own lives and as an interference in the sphere of their physical and mental intimacy, treated as a forum for absolute personal autonomy.
We can observe not only an extreme simplification of this sensitive and complex moral and legal issue, but also the use and strengthening of negative emotions, especially fear, sense of insecurity and compulsory heroism of potential parents of children at risk of permanent bodily malformation or severe disability. Dramatically difficult and complex existential situations, in which appears suffering (without anyone's fault), are reduced to securing the rights of only one, stronger side. And yet, EVERY side, including those who are unable to defend themselves, is subject of inalienable and non-derogable rights resulting from the very fact of being a human person, regardless of its stage of its development. What legal instance could change this?
Manifesting one's beliefs, even in the form of social protest, is legitimate within certain limits, which during the events of recent days have been disturbingly exceeded in violation of the rights of other citizens, in particular believers. The identification of the Constitutional Tribunal's judgment with the teachings of the Catholic Church, the directing aggression against its hierarchy and the faithful, the devastation of places of worship and the disturbance of liturgical celebrations, while allowing part of the political class to use punishable threats and incitement to violence, reveals a dangerous social tendency and it prompts us to inquire about the real motives underlying such behavior. They should be sought on ideological and worldview grounds. It is not sufficient to identify them with the emotional states of some citizens on the level of social phenomena. The intensification of social indignation and anger and directing them towards believers is a space of possible and highly probable manipulations and socio-technical procedures.
Lowering the temperature of emotional reactions, introducing an ordering rational element, quick start to build philosophical-ethical, scientific and legal arguments and showing from the side of rulers (supported by experts) practical solutions securing the living situation of families affected by this problem is a condition for establishing a platform for dialogue in this civilization conflict. The society should be effectively informed about the fact that concrete positive legal solutions will be worked out in a process of joint social effort, in which should be involved: parents of both sexes (it is not only a matter of women!), experts in biological sciences, medicine, law, bioethics and other scientific fields, and representatives of churches and religious associations who would present the reasons of their own community. It is also necessary to expose ideological mechanisms and to show the inalienable dignity and human basis for the protection of the life of the unborn, which is available to natural cognition and not only the result of religious beliefs.
mgr Marcin Janecki
Nicholas Copernicus University in Toruń