A new Polish citizen-led effort to prohibit abortions on unborn babies with disabilities received support from Prime Minister Beata Szydlo this week.
On Thursday, the pro-life female leader said she would vote for a bill to ban eugenic abortions targeting unborn babies with Down syndrome and other disabilities, Digital Journal reports.
“I am sure that the bill will find great support in our parliamentary group, and of course I will vote for its adoption. I oppose eugenic abortion,” Szydlo told the Gosc Niedzielny Catholic weekly.
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.
The citizen pro-life group Stop Abortion Committee is urging lawmakers to pass a new draft law to prohibit eugenic abortions. They group said it has collected 200,000 signatures in support of the legislation, twice the number required to submit a bill to parliament, according to the report.
In 2015, about 1,000 unborn babies with fetal anomalies were aborted in Poland, according to the Life and Family Foundation. The country reported a total of 1,044 abortions that year.
“Such a change in the law, though a small one, would save many lives,” pro-life leader Kaja Godek said in August.
The pro-life group referred to polls indicating strong public support for bans on eugenic abortions. Szydlo is one of several top political leaders who said they support the legislation. President Andrzej Duda is another.
A strong Catholic country, Poland has been debating a complete abortion ban for the past several years. In the fall of 2016, massive abortion protests prompted lawmakers to back away from legislation that would have protected an unborn baby’s right to life in all circumstances.
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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 unborn baby who allegedly was born alive after a failed abortion attempt at a Warsaw hospital. Allegedly, the baby screamed for an hour as he or she 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 the 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.