On Friday September 11th the draft bill aiming to ban access to legal abortion in all cases has been rejected by the Polish Parliament plenary vote. There were 206 votes in favor of its rejection whereas 178 voted against and wanted it to be proceeded. 66 MPs were not present and 10 restrained from voting.
The Federation for Women and Family Planning was involved in mobilizing the feminist and pro-choice community in Warsaw to protest against this anti-women’s rights bill on Wednesday, September 9th, in front of the Polish Sejm. Over 100 people gathered late afternoon to voice their outrage with the draft bill. To view photos from the rally click HERE.
The citizen’s bill amending the Act on Family Planning, protection of the Human Foetus and Conditions of Pregnancy Termination and related Acts was submitted by the Committee “Stop Abortion”.
The bill included a total ban on abortion. It also proposed to delete any reference to prenatal diagnosis of a foetus understood as a woman’s right to information and testing. The possibility to save a pregnant woman’s life in case of direct pregnancy-related danger was hidden in the proposed Criminal Code provisions not to punish doctors who “kill a conceived baby” while saving a woman. It still did not mean a right to terminate in this case. These were the main points the Federation and other organizations were trying to reveal and expose the real effects of such law if adopted.
The debate in the parliament was followed by a small number of MPs in the room. NGOs and activists from both sides were present at the gallery (with no right to speak). There weren’t any surprises regarding the content of interventions although the representative of the Committee was warned by the Speaker a few times for the language she was using (relating to murder, Holocaust and Hitler). Sadly there were not many comprehensive interventions by MPs to expose the manipulation behind the information the Committee was giving.
We may call the dismissal a victory yet the anti-choice attempts to influence women’s reproductive rights are reoccurring at the Polish political scene and within the Parliament every year, usually in Autumn. Meanwhile, Poland remains one of the few countries in Europe with such anti-women legislation on reproductive rights. The scale of the “abortion underground” where numerous illegal procedures happen daily remains unknown. The policy makers are ignorant of this phenomenon.
Federation for Women and Family Planning and ASTRA Network gathered endorsements from international community under their letter to Polish MPs, Speaker of the Parliament and the Prime Minister. To see the full letter along with endorsements click HERE.
On behalf of Federation for Women and Family Planning we would like to thank all international organizations and individual SRHR advocates who supported our appeal and helped to disseminate this information.
Source: Federation for Women and Family Planning