Polish parliament rejects abortion bill

A bill to legalise abortion has been rejected by right-wing MPs, making Poland one of the few European countries with very strict abortion laws.

By Bartosz Sieniawski

Euractiv (24.06.2022) –  https://bit.ly/3NoatRw – In 2020, the Constitutional Court further restricted the right to abortion, declaring it unconstitutional to terminate pregnancies resulting from foetal abnormalities. The decision of the Court, dominated by judges associated with the ruling Law and Justice party, resulted in several weeks of unrest, mass protests and strikes.

Since then, abortion in Poland has been legal only in cases of danger to the life and health of the mother and in cases of pregnancy resulting from rape. Anti-choice groups, which demand a ban on abortion in general, have announced that they plan to make abortion illegal in Poland altogether.

The project of the civic legislative initiative “Legal abortion without compromises”, which was rejected on Thursday, assumed legalisation of abortion in Poland up to the 12th week of pregnancy, and after this time only in the case of a threat to the life and health of the mother. Termination of pregnancy was to be available to all persons over 13 years of age. In addition, the draft provided for the introduction of universal education on abortion.

“I have come to you with a bill which changes the law so that it meets European and world standards on the protection of women’s life and health,” the leader of the pro-abortion organisation Women’s Strike, Marta Lempart, said in the Polish parliament.

“This bill contradicts the right to life, freedom of conscience and expression and parental rights,” ruling party MP Anna Milczanowska said, announcing that Law and Justice would reject the bill in its entirety.

Out of 460 members of the Polish parliament, 265 voted against the project, 175 voted in favour, and four abstained.

Some 61.8% of Poles support the liberalisation of the right to abortion while 26.7% of respondents disagree, according to the latest surveys.

Malta is the only other EU country with more restrictive laws where abortion is banned in all cases, even in cases of rape and if the mother’s life is in danger.

Photo credits: Shutterstock/Adam Kurylo