by Steven Ertelt
February 15, 2005
Warsaw, Poland (LifeNews.com) — The Polish parliament has turned back an effort to legalize abortion and change the eastern European nation’s status as one of the few countries in that part of the world that prohibits the grisly procedure.
Proposed by the ruling Democratic Left Alliance, the bill would have legalized all abortions up to 12 weeks into pregnancy. However, it faced strong opposition from the Catholic Church and pro-life lawmakers who don’t want the Pope’s home country on record allowing abortions.
The bill would also have allowed teenage girls to obtain abortions without parental consent or involvement.
The Polish parliament defeated the measure on a 199 to 183 vote.
Polish has some of the most pro-life laws in the world and abortion is prohibited unless the unborn child is so severely physically deformed as to not be able to survive outside the womb, if the mother’s life is threatened or in cases of rape or incest.
The bill would also have made sex education a separate class for junior high school students.
Last year, the Unite Nations sought to encourage Poland to reverse its pro-life laws.
At the end of October, the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, held meetings about the bill.
In a report released by its office, Jaime Ruiz de Santiago, a senior U.N. official in Poland, said he was worried that Polish law was driving women to have illegal abortions, that abortions are not being performed when permitted in cases of rape, and he said no information exists on when doctors use the conscience clause to refuse to perform a legal abortion.
"The State Party should liberalize its legislation and practice on abortion," the document recommended.
The memo upset pro-life advocates who say the international agency has no business dictating abortion policy to the country.
"This is an attempt to influence Polish parliament to adopt the anti-life bill which is in the working," said Lech Kowalewski, a Polish pro-life leader associated with Human Life International.
In June 2003, the Dutch abortion ship paid a visit to the eastern European nation to highlight its pro-life laws and offer dangerous abortion drugs to pregnant women.
Poland reinstituted its pro-life law in the early 1990s after decades of abortion on demand during Communist rule.