Poland May Consider Measure to Ban Abortions on Babies With Down Syndrome

International   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Aug 21, 2017   |   9:20AM   |   Warsaw, Poland

Pro-life advocates in Poland are calling on their country leaders to put an end to eugenic abortions on unborn babies with Down syndrome and other special needs.

Radio Poland reports the Life and Family Foundation is leading the effort. The pro-life group referred to polls indicating that most people in Poland oppose eugenic abortions that kill unborn babies with disabilities.

Poland 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.

“Such a change in the law, though a small one, would save many lives,” pro-life leader Kaja Godek said Thursday.

In 2015, about 1,000 unborn babies with fetal anomalies were aborted in Poland, according to the pro-life group. The country reported a total of 1,044 abortions that year.

Here’s more from the report:

A group known as the Life and Family Foundation has officially asked the country’s lower-house Speaker to register a citizens’ legislative initiative called the Stop Abortion Committee. The group aims to collect signatures of support for legislation to prohibit eugenic abortions.

According to the group, the possibility of having an abortion on account of foetal defects should be removed from Poland’s abortion law.

President Andrzej Duda previously said he would support a bill to prohibit abortions on unborn babies with special needs, according to the report. Last year, Prime Minister Beata Szydlo also said she would support a bill to protect unborn babies from abortion.

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A strong Catholic country, Poland has been debating a complete abortion ban for about a year. In the fall of 2016, massive abortion protests prompted lawmakers to back away from legislation that would have supported fully an unborn baby’s right to life.

Babies with disabilities increasingly are being targeted for abortions before they are born. In Iceland, one expert said no babies with Down syndrome have been born in the past five years because they all were aborted. Iceland now has a nearly 100-percent abortion rate for unborn babies who test positive for Down syndrome.

Eugenic discrimination by abortion has been reported in Poland, too. Legislation to prohibit abortions began gaining attention almost two years ago 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. Allegedly, the baby screamed for an hour as it was left to die. Some news outlets reported that the baby may have been aborted because of a Down syndrome diagnosis.

Last year, the pro-life bill appeared to have strong support from the Polish people. Almost half a million citizens signed a citizen-led pro-life bill, and polling found that 58 percent of Poles support a ban on abortions, according to The Wall Street Journal.

However, Poland has been facing continued pressure from pro-abortion groups, the United Nations and others to expand its legalization of abortions.