Poland’s Conservative Catholic Hierarchy Apparently Continues Pressuring Government to Cut Reproductive Rights

In October 2016, nationwide protests in Poland ended a proposed ban on abortion in the country put forward by the right-wing Law and Justice Party. The party, closely allied with ultraconservative members of the Catholic hierarchy in Poland, suggested it would support an abortion ban shortly after it gained a majority of seats in the government. As the proposed ban approached a vote, 143 protests formed in cities across Poland, and thousands of individuals went on strike or wore black to work in protest. Following the success of the protests, ultraconservative Catholics and politicians have moved towards more subtle restrictions on abortion access. In August, Prime Minister Beata Szydlo wrote in the Gosc Niedzielny, a conservative Catholic magazine, that she would support a ban on “eugenic abortion.” In October, a legal opinion written by a group of ultraconservative Catholic lawyers closely connected to members of the Law and Justice party was leaked; the opinion suggested prosecution for anyone providing information about how to access abortion services abroad. Around the time of the leak, the Polish government began seizing shipments of medical abortion supplies.

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