Catholic Church leaders in Poland are working to restore protections for all unborn babies in the European nation.
In connection with a celebration of Catholicism as Poland’s national faith for 1,050 years, the church bishops are urging legislators to pass a measure to ban all abortions, according to the Associated Press. The celebration is happening this week.
“In this jubilee year of Poland’s baptism, we urge all people of goodwill, believers and nonbelievers, to take action to ensure full legal protection of unborn lives,” the bishops said.
In Poland, abortion is legal in cases of rape, life or health of the mother or severe fetal deformities. A new citizen-lead measure would make abortion illegal except to save the mother’s life.
A few weeks ago, Catholic priests read a statement by the bishops in support of the bill. According to the Catholic news group The Tablet:
The bishops’ statement, read in churches on 3 April, said Poland’s 1993 law, which restricts abortions to cases of rape, incest, severe foetal damage or threats to a woman’s life, could not be sustained and should be replaced by a total ban.
“Catholics’ position on this is clear, and unchangeable. One needs to protect every person’s life from conception to natural death,” they said.
“We ask the lawmakers and the government to initiate the legislation.”
The pro-life measure already has received wide-spread support. Poland Prime Minister Beata Szydlo told Radio Poland that she supports the citizen bill, and Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of the ruling Law and Justice Party in Poland, said he plans to follow the Catholic leaders’ call to pass the measure. Last week, more than 100 Polish journalists also signed an open letter to the members of the parliament, supporting the ban and encouraging legislators to change the current law.
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However, some pro-abortion feminist groups already have staged protests against the citizen bill, claiming it would lead to dangerous back alley abortions.
The citizen bill gained more attention after the horrific story of a late-term baby who allegedly was born alive after a failed abortion attempt at a Warsaw hospital and screamed for an hour as it was left to die.
Abortion is legal through the first trimester in most of Europe. Poland is one of the few European nations that protects unborn babies from abortion in most cases.