Troubled by the number of unborn babies who are aborted because of disabilities, Polish lawmakers approved a measure Friday to encourage more families to choose life.
The new policy, “For Life,” will offer a 4,000 zloty (about $1,000) financial incentive to families of babies with disabilities to help aid the cost of raising their child, Fox News reports. Lawmakers hope the money will give more families a reason to choose life for their babies.
The policy is scheduled to go into effect in 2017, according to Christian Daily. The measure passed parliament in a 267-140 vote, with 21 abstaining, the report states. President Andrzej Duda, who also is urging support for a bill to ban abortions on babies with disabilities, is expected to sign the measure.
Poland, a strong Catholic country, currently prohibits most abortions. Abortion is legal in cases of rape and incest, the life or health of the mother or severe fetal deformities – though “severe” is widely defined and unborn babies with disabilities like Down syndrome legally can be aborted under the current law.
CBN News reports, 1,040 unborn babies were aborted in Poland last year, and most were babies with severe genetic defects.
Here’s more from Fox News:
Government official Elzbieta Witek said the money is intended as the “first step” of government support for families with disabled children. Such families have long been demanding higher aid, which currently stands at 1,300 zlotys a month for a parent taking care of the child full-time.
The conservative Law and Justice government, backed by the Catholic church, is seeking to ban abortions of deformed or sick fetuses, or even those with no chance of survival, to make possible their baptism and burial.
The abortion issue began gaining attention last winter in Poland after a horrific story came to light about 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. Some news outlets reported that the baby may have been aborted because of Down syndrome, but that was not confirmed.
In late October, President Duda told Polsat News that the current laws are “ineffective” in protecting unborn babies from abortion.
“I believe that the lives of these children are too poorly protected at the moment,” Duda said.
The news comes a month after abortion activists staged huge, violent protests against a proposed bill to protect unborn babies by banning all abortions in Poland. Members of Parliament voted to reject the bill just days after the mass protests.
The pro-life bill rejected by Parliament has strong support from the Polish people. Almost half a million people signed the citizen-led bill, and a recent poll found that 58 percent of Poles support a ban on abortions, according to The Wall Street Journal.
However, pro-abortion groups, the United Nations and others are pushing the country to stop protecting unborn babies’ lives and expand its legalization of abortions. More pro-abortion protests have occurred in Poland since its parliament rejected the pro-life bill. Some of the Czarny Protests, or Black Protests, turned violent. Police in Poland detained seven pro-abortion protesters for violence, and five police officers were injured during the Oct. 3 protests, according to Radio Poland. At one point in Warsaw, abortion activists also blocked access to the ruling Law and Justice Party headquarters, Reuters reported.