Poland’s parliament rejected plans for a ban on abortion even after mass protests occurred, says Reuters. It is considered an embarrassing setback for the government as well as the Catholic Church. This demonstration was performed by tens of thousands of women, states The Huffington Post.
The Law and Justice Party (PiS) withdrew their support of proposals drawn up by an anti-abortion campaign group during a parliamentary committee meeting on October 5, 2016, The Huffington Post article says. The independent group continued their support of the protection of life, and they went on to state that they will pursue this action.
Monday’s protests across Poland had more than 100,000 women dressed in black. These protests shook the group, says Reuters.
Poland’s Strict Abortion Laws
Poland already employs one of the most restrictive abortion laws in Europe, reports Reuters. The new proposals would limit abortion laws to cases where the mother’s life was in danger. Some women felt this was too far.
The rejected plan stated that women and doctors would face up to five years in jail for performing an abortion, said the Reuters article.
The plan was rejected after 352 lawmakers had a vote. Only 58 were in favor, but liberal opposition warned that possible attempts to tighten up the laws by PiS could occur because the group has a large parliamentary majority.
Current laws, which were created in 1993, state that abortion is allowed in cases of incest, danger to the mother’s health, rape, or when prenatal tests reveal that there is irreversible damage to the fetus. Activists state that women are denied abortions in these cases still, especially if the doctor invokes a moral or religious objection, says Reuters.
The Huffington Post article goes on to highlight that if the new law had passed, no longer would women be able to have an abortion due to rape or incest. Instead, they would only be allowed to have an abortion if the birth threatened the mother’s health or life.
New Proposals On The Horizon
The group did state that they would introduce new proposals by the end of 2016, but they hinted that the restrictions would be more modest.
PiS has already made it clear their position on other controversial topics, such as the use of in vitro fertilization (IVF). They stated in the Reuters article that IVF was a sinful procedure.
PiS Takes Control
PiS was able to win last year’s election by creating a larger appeal among poorer, rural and less educated voters. They attempted to include more women and younger voters in their campaign by promising to build familial benefits and increase public spending.
After Monday’s protests, PiS had a support rating of 30 percent, which is down from the 33 percent they carried in July of 2016, states Reuters. Their recent U-turn on the new law may decrease their favoritism even more among Polish residents.