Thanks to conservative MPs from the ruling Civic Platform party, parliament last week rejected a bill to liberalize Poland’s laws on abortion while at the same time voting to continue work on a proposed bill that would further tighten the country’s already strict laws on the procedure.
The liberal proposal was initiated by the anti-clerical Palikot’s Movement and aimed to grant women the power to terminate pregnancies in the first trimester, without any restrictions. The proposal was rejected overwhelmingly: some 365 MPs in the 460-member lower house of parliament, the Sejm, voted against it.
Parliament will now instead move ahead with a bill brought forward by the conservative Solidarity Poland party, which would further restrict abortion laws in Poland, already among the most stringent in Europe.
Solidarity Poland’s proposal would ban abortions of damaged fetuses. The bill is supported by the largest opposition party in parliament, the conservative Law and Justice. Forty MPs from Civic Platform, which has touted itself as a moderate party, also voted in favor of this proposal.
Poland’s current laws allow for abortion in the event of rape, if the mother’s health is at grave risk, or if there is a high probability that the fetus is damaged or deformed.
In response to the vote, President Bronisław Komo-rowski, who was elected as a candidate from Civic Platform, said the development was “disturbing.”
“I have always believed that one cannot violate a fragile but difficult compromise that nevertheless serves Poland. … Civic Platform must defend this compromise at all costs,” said Mr Komorowski, referring to the existing laws on the matter.
Mr Komorowski warned that if this compromise were broken, an “ideological war” could emerge. In an effort to emphasize the message, the president went as far as to invoke the late First Lady Maria Kaczyńska – the wife of the late President Lech Kaczyński, a political foe of Mr Komorowski – saying Ms Kaczyńska had “categorically supported the compromise.”
This was likely a message to the more conservative section of Polish society. But if the president opposes the changes, then he will likely veto them once the bill lands on his desk.
From Warsaw Business Journal by Remi Adekoya
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