Poland Casts First Vote for Bill Banning All Abortions

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 1, 2011   |   1:03PM   |   Warsaw, Poland

Poland lawmakers cast their initial vote on legislation that would ban all abortions in the European nation — supporting a bid to move ahead with legislation that would tighten the nation’s laws already prohibiting most abortions.

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.

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.

According to an AFP report, members of the Polish parliament turned back an effort by left-wing legislators to stop progress on the bill and, instead, they sent it to a committee for further work. Members of the Sejm voted 254-151 against the communist Democratic Left Alliance’s motion to reject the legislation and, in a subsequent vote, lawmakers sent the bill to committee for finalization.

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 European Court of Human Rights has been targeting Poland because of its current pro-life laws.