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Poland, Penal Code of 1932

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Poland, Penal Code of 1932


Poland Penal Code (1932)


Poland revised its penal code on abortion in 1932, introducing exceptions for abortions for pregnancies resulting from crimes or threats to the woman's health or life, and introduced the requirement to have a certificate on the need for the procedure approved by two physicians. This remained in effect until 1956.


Poland (Government)


Hajo, Cathy Moran (created stub)
Hajo, Cathy Moran (expanded stub)


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Polish Penal code of 1932 was decreed on July 11, 1932 and became effective as of Sept. 1, 1932

Poland's previous Penal Code (1918) considered abortions performed without the consent of the woman crimes with penalties up to 10 years of labor. Self-induced abortion and abortions performed with the consent of the mother were seen as misdemeanors.

The 1932 revision included “abortion in all its forms, with the exception of justifiable abortion performed by a physician in cases where such abortion was necessary in consideration of the condition of the pregnant woman or where pregnancy was the result of violence, deceit or intercourse between relatives.”

In practice, two doctors had to certify that an abortion had been performed legally--either in the cases of rape where pregnancy was the result, or when the abortion preserved or saved the life of the mother. In rural areas these restrictions were particularly difficult to fulfill.


Article 230, Section 2 of the Offenses against Life and Health section: “If death shall result from intentional corporal injury, impairment of health, abortion, or from abandonment as specified in Article 200, the offender is punishable by imprisonment up to 10 years.”

Article 231. “A woman who shall commit an abortion herself, or shall allow another to commit an abortion upon her, is punishable by detention up to 3 years

Article 232. “Whoever with the consent of a pregnant woman shall commit an abortion upon her, or whoever shall assist therein, is punishable by imprisonment up to 5 years.”

Article 233. “No offense is committed under Articles 231 and 232, if the operation was performed by a surgeon and: (a) was necessary for the health of the pregnant woman, or (b) the pregnancy was the result of an offense specified in Article 203, 204, 205, or 206.

Article 234. “Whoever without the consent of a pregnant woman shall commit an abortion upon her, is punishable by imprisonment up to 10 years.”


Raphael Lemkin and Malcolm McDermott, trans. The Polish Penal Code of 1932 and the Law of Minor Offenses (Durham, NC, 1939). pp. 9, 18, 69, 70,
Henry Philip David, Joanna Skilogianis. From Abortion to Contraception: A Resource to Public Policies and Reproductive Behavior in central and Eastern Europe from 1917 to the Present. (Westport, Conn: Greenwood Publishing Group, 1999), pp. 170-71.