Polish women’s groups on Tuesday demanded a loosening of the country’s anti-abortion law, marking the 10th anniversary of the legislation. Poland’s Catholic Church sponsored the 1993 anti-abortion law. Along with Ireland, Poland is ranked as having the strictest abortion law in Europe, according to Agence France Presse.
Current legislation dictates that abortion is only allowed when the mother’s health or life is in danger, the fetus deformed, or if the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest. Izabela Jaruga-Nowacka, the Polish minister dealing with gender equality, stated at a conference that “the shameful law has only negative consequences,” according to AFP. AFP reports that 80,000-200,000 illegal abortions, often in dangerous conditions, are performed every year in Poland. People who perform these back-alley abortions are sentenced to two to three years in prison if convicted.
The Associated Press reports that recent surveys suggest that the majority of Poles are in favor of relaxing and liberalizing the law. In addition, 90 percent of Poles describe themselves as Roman Catholics.