Widespread Protests Take Place in Poland against Tightening of Abortion Law

Lawmakers from the conservative, ruling Law and Justice Party in Poland, who have previously tried to ban all abortions, made a renewed push to ban abor­tions in cases of fetal abnor­mality. The “Stop Abortion” bill, drafted by the ultracon­servative Ordo Iuris organi­zation, sought to tighten Poland’s abortion law, which is already among Europe’s strictest—allowing abortion only in cases where there is severe and irreversible damage to the fetus, a serious threat to the woman’s health, or when pregnancy is the result of rape or incest. Since 95 percent of legal abortions in Poland take place due to fetal abnormalities, the law would effectively lead to a total ban. Thousands of people took the streets across Poland against the ban, replicating massive marches against the attempted ban in 2016. The Catholic church of Poland, which is closely aligned with President Andrzej Duda and Members of the Law and Justice Party, applied direct political pressure in support of the ban. The Polish Epis­copate appealed to parlia­mentarians to consider the ban and then it thanked them for doing so. Anti-ban protestors held signs accusing the church of polit­ical interference. According to a June 2017 poll, only 30 percent of Poles perceive the church as neutral, and support among Poles for the church dropped from 61 to 54 percent over the past six months. President Duda vowed to sign the law if approved by Parliament.

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