Poland: Parliament and President Disagree on Abortion Ban

Poland’s parliament introduced a constitutional amendment last week that would ban all abortions in the country, but both the President and Prime Minister have expressed their disapproval of the ban. Right-wing, Catholic members of parliament, known as the League of Polish Families (LPF), introduced the law, which is similar to Nicaragua’s recent abortion ban, that would further limit Poland’s strict abortion laws, which only allow abortion in cases of rape, incest, or a threat to a woman’s health. Supporters of the ban want to include the right to life “from the moment of conception” in the constitution, according to AFP. Marek Kotlinowski, deputy director of LPF said about cases of rape, “A child should not be punished for the crimes of his father… It’s a tragedy for the women, but the fate of the child interests me more,” Reuters reports.

Polish President Lech Kaczynski and his brother Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski have both announced their intent to reject the proposed amendment. “I am for keeping the status quo,” President Kaczynski said, according to Reuters. “The compromise reached on abortion 13 years ago is good.” The bill is currently in committee and a vote in the lower house is expected in the next few months, but without the support of the president and the prime minister, the bill is likely to fail, Reuters reports.

Many feminist organizations in Poland argue that a complete ban will only lead to more back-alley abortions, a practice which is not uncommon in Poland. “Nobody will force a woman to have children if she does not want [them]. It is total hypocrisy to put a complete ban on abortions when everyone knows the black market exists,” said Wanda Nowicka, president of the country’s family planning federation, reports AFP.


AFP 10/26/06; Kaiser Daily WomenÕs Health Policy 10/31/06; Reuters 10/28/06

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