by Steven Ertelt
March 5, 2007
Warsaw, Poland (LifeNews.com) — Poland’s top government officials are criticizing each other over the issue of abortion. The squabble began when Deputy Prime Minister Roman Giertych drew headlines after a talk last week in Heidelberg, Germany where he called on the European Union to uphold moral principles by completely banning abortion.
Giertych heads the League of Polish Families, the smallest of three political parties that form the ruling coalition government in the eastern European nation.
When he returned home from the EU meeting, Giertych told the national daily Rzeczpospolita that he wants clarification on the government’s position on abortion.
“I would like to ask publicly, what is the position of the government on the matter of … abortion?” he said.
However, his comments drew a rebuke from Polish Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski.
"Giertych went too far. His remarks are not the position of our government," Kaczynski told a news conference. "I am for the anti-abortion law we have at present."
He told Reuters that the two would meet later this week to discuss the issue.
Still, Kaczynski met with the parliamentary speaker, Marek Jurek, to assure him that he backs a call from pro-life advocates there to provide protection for human life from the moment of conception.
Giertych’s party and Kaczynski’s own Law and Justice party want to change the Poland constitution to make it difficult to ever legalize abortion in the future.
However, Kaczynski and his brother Lech, who is Poland’s president, don’t want to change the constitution and don’t want to prohibit abortions in cases of rape and incest.
"This is a question about how far a democratic country can go," Kaczynski told Reuters. "I believe the state cannot force a woman to give birth to a child after a rape."
That view may be out of step with the citizens of the country.
A recent public opinion poll by Polska Grupa Badawcza finds that a majority of Poles support the proposed amendment to the Polish Constitution that would guarantee the right to life to every citizen from conception to natural death.
Some 52.4% support the law that would ban abortion and euthanasia in all cases, 33.3% are against it and 14.3% remain undecided.
The Polish newspaper reported that both pro-life and pro-abortion advocates rallied in Warsaw over the weekend and Posen Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki wrote to members of the Polish parliament asking them to support the pro-life measure.
Last month, a United Nations committee came under fire for criticizing Poland and saying it hadn’t done enough to comply with the CEDAW treaty and to allow more abortions. CEDAW committee members questioned the Polish government on its access to abortion.
In response, a Polish official said that "every abortion is a tragedy" and said the biggest problem is the ability to provide support for single women who are pregnant. He said that need, not abortion, was the biggest question to address.
The European Union and the United Nations have put pressure on Poland to change its pro-life laws and abortion advocates previously anchored an abortion boat outside the country to do abortions just outside Polish waters.
When communism fell in this eastern European nation in 1989, Polish politicians reached an agreement with Catholic Church leaders to make abortion illegal in most cases. Poland currently prohibits most abortions but allows them in cases to save the life of the mother or in rape and incest.