Poland remains one of the most restrictive countries in Europe on abortion. Polish MPs rejected, Thursday, June 23, a proposal for a citizens’ initiative to liberalize the law on voluntary termination of pregnancy (abortion). The lower house of parliament, where the ruling Conservatives hold the majority, voted against the initiative to allow abortions up to the twelfth week of pregnancy. A total of 265 deputies voted against the liberalization of the law, 175 voted for and four abstained.

Women’s rights activist Marta Lempart tabled this bill which was backed by more than 200,000 signatures. She wanted to bring Polish laws into conformity “with European and global criteria”. Polish abortion law, already very restrictive, was toughened in 2020 when the Constitutional Council sided with the government by decreeing that abortions, even in the event of serious malformation of the fetus, were unconstitutional.

At present, abortion is prohibited in Poland except in cases of rape and incest, or if the life or health of the mother is in danger. Even before the toughening of the law, less than 2,000 legal abortions per year were performed in Poland, while 200,000 women had recourse to them either clandestinely or abroad, according to the associations.

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