by Steven Ertelt
April 17, 2007
Warsaw, Poland (LifeNews.com) — Members of the Poland parliament on Friday rejected measures there that would strengthen the nation’s abortion ban. The nation currently allows it only in cases of rape or incest or saving the mother’s life but members of parliament wanted to enshrine the law in the country’s constitution.
As a result of the vote, some members of the ruling coalition are threatening to leave the government and the nation may be forced to call for early elections as a result.
Polish Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski warned members of his party on Tuesday that there may be early elections and told members of the ruling government parties to close ranks.
Some members of Kaczynski’s Law and Justice party are leaving over the abortion vote and that could threaten the three party majority that forms the current government along with the conservative League of Polish Families and rural Self-Defence party.
"One can never rule out early elections because this situation, the option of early elections, can always occur in democratic countries," he told a Polish radio station.
According to a Reuters report, a majority of the Law and Justice party wanted to put the nation’s current abortion restrictions in the constitution but a minority sided with the League to put a stricter total abortion ban in the constitution instead.
Media reports indicate that as many as 20 members of the Law and Justice could leave as a result of the vote and lower house speaker Marek Jurek resigned from the party on Saturday.
Organized by a Catholic radio station and a pro-life political party, more than 4,000 people appeared in front of the nation’s parliament late last month to urge a vote to restrict abortion.
A much smaller group of 700 people rallied in favor of abortion and held banners saying they didn’t want politicians or the Pope to determine when abortion should be allowed.
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.
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.