Poland Vetoes Death Penalty Abolition Event Over Abortion Concerns

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 18, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Poland Vetoes Death Penalty Abolition Event Over Abortion Concerns

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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
September 18,

Brussels, Belgium (LifeNews.com) — The nation of Poland has officially vetoed an event that 26 member nations of the European Union want to mark the abolition of the death penalty. However, Polish leaders say there is unanimity on the death penalty and insist the event should be used to mark the deaths of people from abortion and euthanasia.

EU diplomats in Belgium acknowledged on Tuesday that the event, planned for next month, may not go forward because of Poland’s opposition. All 27 member nations must agree for it to take place.

"Twenty-six countries in the EU want to celebrate a symbolic day against the death penalty but only one, Poland, is against," Spanish Justice Minister Mariano Sanchez Bermejo said. "It is very difficult to understand why Poland is putting a veto on this. We hope it is only a provisional (veto)."

"Establishing a day called a European day against the death penalty has appeared all of a sudden as a topic. We would like first to discuss what it really means," Polish Interior Minister Wladyslaw Stasiak told reporters.

"But we don’t want a debate on reinstating the death penalty, nobody wants that in Poland," he added.

Poland, along with Ireland and Malta, bans abortions and the nation isn’t likely to change its stance on the event as its ruling government leaders are fighting for pro-life votes in advance of an election scheduled for October 21.

Portugal was the first European nation to ban the death penalty, in 1876, and it hopes the continent will endorse its proposal for a day to mark the abolition in other countries as well.