The Polish Parliament is considering a new bill to ban abortion this week - we join the valiant Poles in their brave battle for life!
In Poland, abortion is legal in cases of rape and incest, the life or health of the mother, or severe fetal deformities – though “severe” is widely defined and unborn babies with Down syndrome and other disabilities have been legally aborted under the current law.
The new citizen-led bill would prohibit all abortions, except when the mother’s life is in jeopardy. The bill would criminalize abortion for causing the “death of a conceived child.” Doctors who do abortions and women who have them could face jail time of up to five years.
Two leading government officials already have spoken up in support of the pro-life measure. Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo told Radio Poland that she supports the citizen bill, and Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of the ruling Law and Justice Party in Poland and a former prime minister, said he plans to follow the call of Catholic leaders to pass the measure.
The citizen bill began gaining attention last winter after a horrific story came to light about a late-term baby who allegedly was born alive after a failed abortion attempt at a Warsaw hospital and screamed for an hour as it was left to die.
In April, more than 100 Polish journalists also signed an open letter to the members of the parliament, supporting the ban and encouraging legislators to change the current law.
The bill was presented in June 2016 by the Stop Abortion committee of various pro-life groups to the Parliament. It is the first time since the collapse of communism in 1989 that there is no left-leaning party representation.
“We want to change the law and those barbarous procedures that do not belong in the 21st century,” said attorney Jerzy Kwaśniewski.
Four lawyers and an expert in bioethics from the Ordo Juris Institute for Legal Culture have spent four months writing the bill, consulting with an array of pro-family and pro-life organizations. Hundreds of activists, coordinated by the Right to Life Foundation, took to the streets to ask their compatriots for support. Their determination and hard work bore fruit in the form of 500,000 signatures supporting Poland’s abortion ban they delivered to the Polish Parliament on July 5.
The abortion ban is just the beginning of the propositions from Ordo Juris lawyers. They want to obtain a system of support that will provide protection for every child and a sense of security to every family.
Poland’s Catholic bishops have called for a permanent ban on abortions to mark the anniversary of their country’s Christian conversion in 966 A.D.
“Each person’s life is protected by the Fifth Commandment, do not kill. So the attitude of Catholics is clear and unchanging,” the bishops’ conference said in a March 30 statement. “In this jubilee year of Poland’s baptism, we urge all people of goodwill, believers and nonbelievers, to take action to ensure full legal protection of unborn lives,” said the bishops while asking members of parliament to take the legislative initiative.
In July, Pope Francis reiterated the sanctity of human life during his five-day visit to Poland: "Life must always be welcomed and protected," and that the two things should always go hand-in-hand starting from conception up to natural death, Zenit reports. He emphasized that it is the government and civil leaders' duty to help mothers welcome life. He said everybody is called to "respect life and care for it" in such a way that the child will be treated as a gift instead of a burden.
It is still time to pray for that victory in Poland!