Members of the Polish Parliament are voting on Thursday on legislation that would ban all abortions in the country, which has long prohibited most abortions under its federal law to the chagrin of other European states.
The PRO Foundation has organized a grassroots campaign to lobby MPs to support the legislation and the nation’s Catholic bishops have also played an integral role in advancing the legislation. The legislation is the result of a citizen-led initiative drive in which sponsors collected 100,000 signatures over the course of three months but which resulted in collecting 600,000 petitions in just two weeks.
“This project is a chance to finally reject the heritage of Nazism and Communism which brought ‘legal abortion’ to Poland in the first place,” said Jacek Sapa of the PRO Foundation, according to Lifesite. “It was Hitler and Stalin who imposed it on Poles and it’s high time we clearly disassociate ourselves from those deadly ideologies.”
The bill would remove the rape and incest exceptions from the current federal law in Poland and provide protection for pregnant women and unborn children starting at conception. Also, currently, Polish law allows for abortion in cases related to maternal health, if the pregnancy is the result of “illegal activity,” or if the unborn child is disabled.
Some Polish abortion practitioners have reportedly manipulated the law to do abortions on children with minor problems such as a cleft palate and others are misreporting the fetal age of the unborn baby at the time of the abortion to escape prosecution.
Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, a former assistant to Pope John Paul II, told Poland’s largest opinion weekly, Gosc Niedzielny, “The Church clearly teaches that it is the obligation of Catholics not to protect the current ‘compromise’ but to aim at complete protection of life. This is a solution, which the Church calls for. I support all efforts aiming at improving the protection of human life.”
The Nazi invasion in World War II brought legalized abortions to Poland and the situation was exacerbated under Communist rule by the Soviet Union. In 1993, a free Poland put the current pro-life laws in place but did not ban all abortions.
A survey conducted earlier this month demonstrates a shift in the population’s attitudes about abortion and showed 65% of Poles agree that the law “should unconditionally protect the life of all children since conception,” and 76% of those aged 15 to 24 favor total protection for unborn children. Some 57 percent of those aged 55 to 70 agree that a ban on abortions is appropriate.
The pro-life Catholic blog Protect the Pope commented on the proposal and says it is supportive and explained that pro-life advocates in Poland were successful in keeping the vote a secret to avoid opposition from media and abortion advocates.
“The PRO Foundation have succeeded in getting this pro-life bill under the radar of the pro-killing babies lobby that dominates EU and US political institutions and media. The Polish pro-lifers have admitted that they’ve hidden this initiative from the English-speaking media to avoid pro-abortion foreign powers pouring money into the country to oppose their popular efforts,” the blog said.
“There is a growing gulf between the atheistic, immoral EU states in the West and the increasingly self-assertive Christian countries of the East. Just as Poland led the collapse of the Soviet Union let us hope that Catholic Poland will start the collapse of the atheist secular empire of the EU. It may take another 50 years, but through the faith of loyal Catholics, the leadership of courageous popes and the guidance of the Holy Spirit we know that evil will always be defeated. The holocaust of abortion must be exposed and stopped,” it continued.
The bill will be debated in the Sejm at first reading on Thursday and a vote is expected Thursday or Friday. The Senate would vote afterwards and the Polish president would have to sign it into law.
The European Court of Human Rights has been targeting Poland because of its current pro-life laws.