Legal fight: Battle over abortion law continues in Poland

15:11 Sep. 23, 2016

Battle over abortion law continues in Poland

Pro abortion protesters, dressed in black to signify grief in terms of the abortion ban, shout slogans during a demonstration in front of the Polish parliament, in Warsaw, Poland, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016 (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)

"Saving Women" abortion liberalization bill is rejected, now deputies are going to vote on tightening the current law 

The civic committee "Saving Women" in its bill proposed to allow terminations until the 12th week of pregnancy unconditionally. After this period – the current law should apply. The initiative had gathered 215,000 petition signatures.

This bill was rejected, mainly by members of ruling right-wing party Law and Justice (PiS). Today the parliament votes for the second bill – on toughening the existing law.

Read more Polish citizens are not against abortions

Pro-life activists want to allow terminations only if a mother's life is at risk. Doctors that perform abortions illegally should get five years in prison instead of current two.

Abortions liberalization supporters gather in thousands to protest the strict laws. As politicians began debating the bill this week, women opposed to the ban posted pictures of themselves on Facebook dressed in black. A hashtag #CzarnyProtest (Black Protest) became popular on Twitter.

Poland has one of the strictest laws on abortion in Europe. The current law, passed in 1993, bans all terminations unless there was rape or incest. Other reasons to permit abortion are a pregnancy that poses a health risk to the mother or a severe deformation of a foetus. 

Read more Protesters rally over plans to ban abortion in Poland

The latest poll, published by Newsweek Polska, shows that 74% of Poles want to keep the existing law. The PiS party law draft is supported by the Catholic church. Poland remains one of Europe's most Catholic nations, with about 90 percent of citizens declaring allegiance to the church. The country of 38 million people sees less than 2,000 legal abortions a year, but women's groups estimate that another 100,000-150,000 procedures are performed illegally or abroad. Yet, the anti-abortion petition gathered more than half a million of signatures.

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