Opponents of the right to life reacted angrily on Thursday to a ruling by Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal that effectively limits abortions to cases of rape or incest, or if the mother’s health is at risk.

Foetal defects detected during pregnancy will not be sufficient cause for a woman to abort, the Tribunal said.

The country’s existing abortion laws were among the most strict in Europe before the ruling.

International human rights groups opposed the ruling, including Amnesty International, the Center for Reproductive Rights and Human Rights Watch.

Not only did the usual opponents of stricter abortion laws condemn the tightening of the law, but also – more controversially – the Council of Europe’s commissioner for human rights, who said it was a “sad day for women’s rights”.

Some proponents of “a woman’s right to choose” have threatened to break coronavirus restrictions to demonstrate against the court’s decision. The ruling comes at a time when Poland is increasing at loggerheads with many countries in the European Union.