Monday, September 5, 2011

Attempts to change abortion regulations in Poland

Polish Parliament rejected two draft bills changing abortion law. Although the existing Polish abortion regulation is one of the most restrictive in the world, the civic initiative had emerged to introduce a total abortion ban. The draft law was first debated by the Parliament on the 1st of July and to dismay of pro-choice community was transferred to work in Parliamentarian Commissions for Health and Social Affairs. Although the draft had been rejected by both Commissions in mid-August it was not sure what would be the outcome of the plenary vote. On the 31st of August the draft introducing total ban of abortion was rejected. USUN The analysis of the votes shows that the dangerous provision was rejected by the majority of merely 5 votes. The second draft bill was presented in the Parliament by the left wing Social Democrates as a response to the ban proposal. It has been based on the draft law prepared by the Federation for Women and Family Planning and it aims at introducing abortion on demand and facilitating women’s access to reproductive health services. It was rejected by the vast majority of Parliamentarians after the first reading. On the 1st of September the new civic initiative was presented. It is called TAK DLA KOBIET (Yes For Women) and it is currently promoting its new draft bill entitled “Law on responsible parenthood and other reproductive rights”. It stipulates abortion on demand up to 12th week, and changes current provisions regulating access to sexual and reproductive health services. The initiative has now to collect 100 000 signatures to proceed with the project. After the signatures are collected, the draft will be debated by the Parliament.

 Source: Federation for Women and Family Planning

IPPF EN is very concerned about the result of Polish parliament’s vote: abortion ban only avoided by 5 votes!

On Wednesday 31 August, the Polish Parliament voted against a citizen’s bill to ban abortion merely by 5 votes. The bill was rejected by 191 parliamentarians while 186 voted in favour. It is particularly upsetting that such a huge number of Polish parliamentarians still voted in favour of the ban when both the relevant parliamentary committees and all the health professionals’ unions consulted on the bill asked for its rejection.

We are wondering how much fear about the forthcoming national elections in October has influenced the vote.  

While IPPF EN welcomes such a victory, we remain nevertheless very concerned by the global situation of women’s rights and SRHR in Poland which following this vote appears even more fragile. According to IPPF Member Association, TRR, there was very scarce mobilization on the part of the Polish civil society.

Furthermore, a recent change in the NGO legislation to access State’s funds might have unexpected and far reaching results hampering the delivery of SRHR services to women in Poland.

We are also concerned about future developments in Europe. This radical debate took place in Poland while the country is holding the EU presidency, and this is also following the change of the Constitution in Hungary to protect ‘life from conception during the Hungarian Presidency of the EU.

IPPF EN congratulates the people who worked hard to ensure this victory, in particular TRR, the Federation for Women and Family Planning and Wanda Nowika,  CFF and  Human Rights Watch  and all the organisations that offered their support.

We hope that the SRHR community will remain vigilant to support pro-choice champions in Poland.

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