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Polish lawmakers reject total abortion ban

October 07, 2016

Polish legislators voted on October 6 to reject a proposal that would have instituted a total ban on abortion.

The proposed legislation—which would allowed for prosecution of mothers who aborted their children, as well as for doctors who performed the procedure—had sparked angry public demonstrations.

Polish law currently bans abortion except in cases of rape, incest, severe fetal deformation, or danger to the mother’s life. Opinion polls have shown strong support for that existing law. Pro-life sentiment has grown considerably stronger in Poland, particularly among young voters, since the fall of the Communist regime, which had allowed for abortion on demand. Nevertheless, polls showed less enthusiasm for a total ban.

The proposal for such a ban had begun as a citizens’ petition, organized by a pro-life group, which had generated 450,000 signatures. In response, pro-abortion groups produced about 200,000 signatures in support of an alternative proposal to reinstitute abortion-on-demand through the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. The latter proposal was quickly rejected by the legislature, allowing for a showdown vote on the ban.


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