“Do not let this cruel law be passed. It stands in contradiction to fundamental human rights, the principle of respect for the dignity, life and health of every woman” – more than 40 Polish and more than 80 international organisations have written to members of Parliament. Today, the MP’s will decide if the law will be passed or not.The draft law, which was prepared by the Pro – Right to Life Foundation (Pro – Prawo do Życia), prohibits abortion in all three cases in which it is now allowed in Poland;
- pregnancy resulting from rape;
- when pregnancy endangers the life or health of a woman;
- in case of severe and irreversible damage to the foetus or an incurable life-threatening disease.
Three years in prison
You cannot punish a child for the criminal acts of its parents. The rapist should be most severely punished, rather than the child, with a death penalty. Because abortion is death – said Krzysztof Kasprzak from the Foundation in May. Back then the organisation managed to collect the required 100 thousand citizens’ signatures, and this means the Parliament must review the project.
Under the revised rules “a person who, with consent of a woman, terminates pregnancy would be subject to imprisonment for up to three years.”
- The project:
- crosses out points about ‘access to information and prenatal tests’;
- introduces a reservation that sexual education “must respect the parents’ moral standards”
- changes the title of the bill from “On family planning, human foetus protection and conditions of permissibility of abortion” to “For the protection of human life and health from conception”.
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What about the constitutional right to health and privacy?
Over 40 Polish non-governmental organisations and more than 80 international organisations, among them: Amnesty International, the Feminoteka foundation, Group of Sex Educators “Ponton”, Institute of Public Affairs, Congress of Women association, Trans-Fuzja, have appealed to the Parliament to reject the project. This appeal was also signed by professor Monika Płatek (professor of Law at the Warsaw University, specialising in Criminal Law and Human Rights) and professor Wiktor Osiatyński (professor of Law at the Warsaw University, writer and social activist).
If the law came into force, a woman would be scared to even go to the doctor. How could she be sure that he would protect her life? This is a law that protects the embryo, foetus, but does not take into account the health of a woman. Not every one of us wants to be a saint hero. What about the constitutional right to health and privacy? This law is a manifestation of absolute cruelty against women – says Krystyna Kacpura, the president of the Federation for Women and Family Planning, the organisation which initiated the appeal. – We appeal to the sense of the Deputies. After all, the current, extremely restrictive law is sometimes difficult to enforce.
Women are people, not living incubators
The signatories of the letter point out that “the effect of restrictive regulations will not eliminate the phenomenon of abortion, but will push it into a deep underground” and nowadays “every year nearly 50,000 women worldwide die from abortions carried out in unsafe conditions.”
If the proposed amendment to the Act was adopted, the Polish society would have to pay a high price for the hypocrisy of the so-called ‘life defenders’, who in the name of ‘rescuing children’ want to sentence a pregnant woman to death and do not see her as a person, but only as a living incubator, forced to bear children regardless of even the most tragic of circumstances – says in the appeal.
The organisations point out that the right to make a decision would be taken away from women, “even in such a dramatic circumstance as the certainty that the carried foetus would not survive to the end of pregnancy.” “Preposterous is the statement of the legislative committee that the introduction of the proposed amendments to the law ‘will make community relations more human’ in a situation when even a victim of rape or incest would be forced to pregnancy and child birth” – the organisations emphasise.
The MP’s have dealt with projects of the abortion law on several occasions in this term. Today, again, they will start the official readings, and make a decision afterwards. The process might take some time. The current law in Poland is already among the most restrictive in Europe.
The MP’s reviewed the project on Thursday (Sept. 10th) evening. It caused an avid discussion between its supporters and opponents. They will vote on the abortion law today. In the debate, the MP’s from Platforma Obywatelska and Sojusz Lewicy Demokratycznej were against, and the members of Prawo i Sprawiedliwość, Polskie Stronnictwo Ludowe and Zjednoczona Prawica – for the new law.
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