Polish PM favours complete ban on abortion
PR dla Zagranicy
Prime Minister Beata Szydło has stated that she is in favour of a complete ban on abortion, following an appeal by church leaders.
Polish PM Beata Szydło. Photo: Polish Radio/Wojciech Kusiński
The prime minister told Polish Radio on Thursday that this is her personal opinion and not necessarily that of all members of conservative ruling party Law and Justice.
Besides the Polish Episcopate's appeal on Wednesday for complete prohibition, Poland's PRO Foundation (Fundacja Pro) is currently gathering signatures for a so-called citizen's bill, under the slogan 'Stop Abortion'.
At least 100,000 signatures are needed for the draft legislation to be submitted to parliament.
Szydło claimed that if the bill is taken up by parliament, she will not insist that other Law and Justice MPs vote in favour of a complete ban.
“Each of us will be guided by our own conscience,” she noted.
Poland currently has among the most stringent abortion laws in Europe.
Abortion is only permissible if a woman's life or health is jeopardised by the continuation of a pregnancy, if the pregnancy is a result of a criminal act such as rape, or if the foetus is seriously malformed. The abortion must be carried out within the first 25 weeks of the pregnancy.
In an open letter signed by the leaders of the Polish Episcopate on Wednesday, bishops described the current laws, which have been in force since 1993, as “a compromise.”
The bishops appealed to parliamentarians to back the new initiative, noting that this year sees the 1050th anniversary of the Baptism of Poland.
“The life of every person is protected by the fifth of the Ten Commandments: 'Thou shalt not kill.'
“Therefore, the position of Catholics in this regard is clear and unchanging.”
Nevertheless, it has been argued that Poland's laws on abortion are already so strict that they clash with the requirements of the European Court of Human Rights. Liberals have likewise expressed concerns about the dangers of "backstreet abortions". (nh/pk)