Following a massive, grassroots campaign, Poland is set to vote on a historic measure that would render abortion completely illegal. If passed, the law will protect life starting at the moment of conception.
Interestingly, abortion opponents in the Central European country were careful to shield their nationwide campaign from the United States, for fear that American pro-choice advocates would pour finances into Poland to oppose the proposed measure.
But now, pro-life advocates are prepared to move forward on a monumental bill that would very literally ban abortion. Getting the legislation before the Parliament has been quite a feat, though interest among the public -- based on the number of names collected -- seems to be elevated. LifeSiteNews.com has more:
To bring the abortion ban before Parliament under Poland’s political system, the sponsors needed to collect 100,000 signatures within three months. They got 600,000 in two weeks.
The bill, which comes up for first reading in the ‘Sejm’ (lower house) on Thursday, is the result of a huge nation-wide grassroots initiative launched by Warsaw’s PRO Foundation and supported by the country’s bishops and a newly-formed pro-life parliamentary committee.
According to Beliefnet, Poland's current restrictions on abortion were passed back in 1993. Under these limitations, abortions are only obtainable when a child is diagnosed with a disease or a serious defect, when a mother has a health problem or when a pregnancy results from an "illegal activity."
LifeSiteNews.com reports, though, that these laws are often manipulated by doctors, resulting in abortions that do not meet these requirements. This new bill is the first attempt to completely ban abortion since the current law made it on the books back in 1993.
If passed, all of the aforementioned exceptions would be thrown out and abortion would carry penalties in any and all cases. According to the proposal, doctors may receive up to eight years for performing the procedure, depending on the circumstance. Women, however, face no penalties.
In a press release put out by pro-life group Personhood USA, support from church officials is touted:
Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, a former assistant to Pope John Paul II, told Poland's largest opinion weekly, Gosc Niedzielny, "The Church clearly teaches that it is the obligation of Catholics not to protect the current 'compromise' but to aim at complete protection of life. This is a solution, which the Church calls for."
The bill will be brought before the Sejm (the lower house in Poland's parliament) on Thursday, with final vote occurring before the end of the day on Friday. If it passes, it will then head to committee, then back to the Sejm for two more votes. After crossing these hurdles, it heads to the Senate and then to the president's desk to be signed.
Regardless of what happens, this is a bold proposal that will likely continue to gain international attention.