Polish MPs throw out bid to totally ban abortion
PR dla Zagranicy
Polish deputies on Thursday threw out a controversial bid to ban abortion that has triggered street protests and criticism in the European Parliament.
PiS leader Jarosław Kaczyński addressing parliament. Photo: PAP/Paweł Supernak
In total, 352 deputies voted to reject a bill which would have made women who terminate pregnancies liable to jail sentences. Meanwhile, 58 voted against throwing out the proposal and 18 abstained.
The bid to tighten staunchly Catholic Poland’s already restrictive abortion laws last week cleared a key hurdle in the Polish parliament, which is dominated by the ruling conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party.
But a parliamentary committee on Wednesday rejected the bill.
PiS leader Jarosław Kaczyński said ahead of the vote on Thursday: "Law and Justice will continue to be for the protection of life and will take appropriate measures in this direction, but these will be well-thought-out measures...”
Addressing the Stop Abortion group, he said its initiative calling for a total ban on terminations would be counterproductive, adding: "With all due respect, I am deeply convinced that what you are proposing is not the right action...”
On Monday, women dressed in sombre colours took to the streets of Polish cities in a so-called Black Protest against the bill to tighten abortion laws.
The initiative by the Stop Abortion group called for a total ban on abortion - even in cases of rape and incest.
Politicians from Poland’s conservative Law and Justice (PiS), which swept to power in elections last year, have stressed that the proposal to ban abortion was not an initiative by the party but by a group of citizens.
Poland already has one of the strictest laws on abortion in Europe, adopted in 1993 and allowing terminations only in the case of rape or incest, when the pregnancy endangers the mother, or the foetus is severely deformed.
After a meeting of the Conference of the Polish Episcopate, Polish Catholic bishops said on Wednesday they do not support measures that would see women facing punishment for having abortions.