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Polish Government Rejects Bid for Abortion Referendum

In a blow to pro-choice advocates in Poland and internationally, the Polish parliament has rejected a bid to call for referendum on whether or not to allow abortion for social reasons. Members of parliament voted 197 to 178, with 14 abstentions, against allowing the referendum to appear on the vote during the same time as parliamentary elections, scheduled for September 21st. Last month, Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal ruled that a law passed in 1996 which allowed abortions up to the 12th week of pregnancy was not constitutional. Parliament must thus make the law more stringent, unless pro-choice advocates can muster a two-thirds parliamentary vote to override the tribunal’s decision, which is very unlikely. A referendum would have allowed people to vote on the abortion question separately from other abortion issues. If passed, the referendum would have overridden the tribunal’s ruling.

Sources:

The Nando Net and Reuter Information Service - June 25, 1997

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