Poland reopens the abortion debate

Publié le 4 Oct, 2016

In Poland, discussions focusing on the draft bill, “Stop abortion”,began on Thursday (see Pologne : la proposition de loi limitant l’avortement sera débattue jeudi– Poland: draft bill limiting abortion to be debated on Thursday). Joanna Banasiuk outlined the bill explaining that “the exceptions permitted by the currently valid 1993 abortion law were being interpreted more and more widely, and the number of abortions was increasing”. On Friday morning, Parliament decided by a strong majority to continue its investigation. The proposed legislation was therefore sent to the Commission on Justice and Human Rights. “Given the public support displayed for our draft bill, we are hopeful that the legislative process will be completed before the end of the year”, announced Karolina Pawlowska from the Institut Ordo luris, one of the associations involved in the initiative.

The bill prohibits recourse to abortion except in cases where the mother’s life is in jeopardy. Anyone practising abortion could face between three months to five years in prison. Similarly, incitement of and support for abortion are also viewed as criminal offences. The mother would face the same penalties “unless the decision was overturned by the judge”. The Polish Episcopate, which is against abortion, does not support this last measure, believing that women are “the second victims of abortion”. However, the bill “appears to suit Polish society overall. According to a survey conducted by the CBOS Institute last April, 76% of Poles are in favour of abortion if pregnancy jeopardises the mother’s health (…), and fewer than one in ten Poles is in favour of total liberalisation of abortion up to the twelfth week of pregnancy”.

In France, the Haut Conseil à l’égalité entre les femmes et les hommes (High Council for Gender Equality) “condemned this draft bill as ‘freedom-destroying and reactionary’” and has called for “a strong reaction from leaders and the European authorities”.

A counter-proposal, namely “Save women”, which was presented to the Polish Parliament at the same time, was permanently rejected during the first reading.

Finally, another bill aimed at prohibiting the freezing of human embryos and limiting recourse to in-vitro fertilisation has been sent to the Commission.


Sources : La Croix, Magdalena Viatteau (22/09/2016) ; AFP (22-23/09/2016) – Photo : Pixabay

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