by Jeremy Kryn
WARSAW, POLAND, August 24, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – In a major blow to the hopes of hundreds of thousands of Polish people and the country’s pro-life movement, on August 19 a commission of the country’s parliament rejected a bill that would have banned all abortions.
Following more than two hours of debate by the Commissions on Health and on Social and Family Policy, commission members from the governing Civic Platform Party (PO) and the pro-abortion Democratic Left Alliance Party (SLD) successfully rejected the bill.
The bill was the result of a massive grassroots campaign. To bring the abortion ban before Parliament under Poland’s political system, the sponsors needed to collect 100,000 signatures within three months. They got 600,000 in two weeks.
Under the current law, abortions can only be obtained where the child is diagnosed with a serious defect or disease, where the mother is diagnosed with a health problem, or where the pregnancy resulted from “illegal activity.” The bill had sought to get rid of these exceptions, rationalizing that murder is not permissible under any circumstances.
The bill had been sent to committee for further consideration after surviving a July 1 SLD motion intended to scrap the bill. That motion was defeated 254-151 by Parliament.
The recent motion against the bill was opposed by 22 commission members, but supported by some self-proclaimed pro-life PO lawmakers.
Polish pro-lifer Mariusz Dzierzawski of the PRO Foundation, the organization behind the bill, reacted angrily to the commission vote in Poland’s parliament, or Sejm. Dzierzawski told Poland’s Catholic Information Service, “If the parliamentarians don’t want to support life, we’ll have to change the parliamentarians.”
“This will be verified at the next election, when we’ll seek to make life a key campaign issue,” he said. “It’s bad news two-thirds of parliamentarians have declared themselves in favor of killing sick children.”
Beginning August 30, Dzierzawski’s group will “certify” lawmakers and parliamentary candidates for their pro-life, pro-family support.
A June 2011 poll by Poland’s Center for Public Opinion Research (CBOS) found that 85% of respondents oppose abortion in comparison to only 9% support, according to Poland’s Our Daily newspaper. Only six years ago, in 2005, CBOS found that 57% of respondents would allow for early abortions, while only 36% were against it.
The Catholic Church in Poland and the Obstetrician/Gynecologist Section of the Catholic Association of Polish Medical Doctors, as well as numerous journalists, lawyers, and professors, backed the people’s bill.
As previously reported by LifeSiteNews, in 2007, an effort to enshrine the “right to life from conception to natural death” in the Polish constitution won support from 60% of parliamentarians, but failed because it needed two-thirds. That amendment, however, would not have had the immediate effect of removing the exceptions for abortion.